Statement on forced deportations, abductions and adoptions of children and other crimes
March 16, 2023
On 16 March, at the interactive dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Dr Kateryna Bondar delivered a statement on forced deportations, abductions and adoptions of children and other crimes against Ukraine’s children committed by the Russian Federation. On behalf of the WFUWO, she asked the Special Representative to accord special attention to the urgent problem of abduction of Ukrainian children and to work with the international organisations to help to find and return these children as fast as possible.
– two thirds of Ukraine’s children displaced,
– thousands of children killed or injured,
– children witnessing killings, torture and sexual violence against family members,
– children forced to stay in bomb shelters without adequate access to medical care and education,
– according to Russia’s own count, up to 700,000 children may have been deported from Ukraine into the Russian Federation
Over 16,000 cases of abduction of children by Russian forces are being investigated by Ukrainian authorities. Among them are children from Kharkiv, Kherson and other regions who have not been returned after attending so-called “recreational camps” in occupied Crimea and Russia, children from Mariupol who lost their parents when their homes were destroyed by the Russian army, as well as children who were living in Ukraine’s orphanages when falling into Russian control. Several hundreds of these children already have been placed through forcible adoption into families in Russia. Russia pre-organized a widespread network of over 40 documented re-education and adoption facilities, from Crimea to Russia’s Far East. Ukrainian children are being subjected to a systematic program of brainwashing, pro-Russian anti-Ukrainian re-education, military training and psychological pressure. They are being deprived of their identity and Russian citizenship is forced on them. Meanwhile, their real parents and relatives are searching for them, while Russia maintains silence on their fate.
The forcible transfer of Ukrainian children, including forcible deportation and adoption by Russian families, is a grave violation of international humanitarian law and the Genocide Convention. We ask the Special Representative to accord special attention to this urgent problem and work with the international organisations to help to find and return these children as fast as possible.”