Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Transfer of Ukrainian children: pressure mounts at the UN | War in Ukraine

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Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child Ann Marie Skelton and Russian Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection Alexei Vovchenko speak before the start of a working session.

Agence France-Presse

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Monday in Moscow for more information on the transfer of Ukrainian children to Russian soil since its invasion of Ukraine, with a question in the form of criticism: when will Russia cooperate on this subject with the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

My final question is: Will Russia cooperate with the investigations at the International Criminal Court into alleged war crimes committed by President Putin and children's rights defender Ms. Lvova-Belova ? said the vice-president of the committee, Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna, to the Russian delegation at the end of the first day of hearings in Geneva.

The fate of these Ukrainian children is one of the hot points in the examination of the Russian file by the committee, made up of 18 independent experts, who chose to leave the night in Moscow to prepare its defense.

Ukraine estimates the number of ;Ukrainian children forcibly sent to Russia.

At this point, according to kyiv, only about 400 have been repatriated by Ukrainian authorities, and the International Criminal Court last year issued arrest warrants. x27;judgment against Mr. Putin and the Russian Commissioner for Children, Maria Lvova-Belova, for the deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children.

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Moscow firmly rejects these accusations.

While some NGOs are calling for the establishment of an international mechanism aimed at facilitating the identification and return of these children, Mr. Pedernera Reyna, responsible for asking the committee's questions on this subject, asked to the Russian delegation to explain the measures taken to investigate the accusations of illegal deportations and forced transfers.

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The vice-president of the Committee on the Rights of the Child at the UN, Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna in November 2019.

Another expert, Bragi Gudbrandsson , called on Russia to shed light on the consequences of the conflict on Russian children, particularly seeking to know how many of them lost their fathers in combat.

While waiting to explain itself about Ukrainian children, the Russian delegation praised the traditional family and the strengthening of the family as an institution.

Since 2020, the Constitution of the Russian Federation contains new amendments that, for the first time, protect the family, motherhood, paternity and children, said the head of the Russian delegation, Alexei Vovchenko.

We created a new holiday in honor of fathers, Father's Day, and we reinstated the Mother-Heroine decoration, which goes to women with ten or more children, thus reviving a Soviet tradition aimed at encourage the birth rate, argued the Russian Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection, adding that 2024 is the year of the family in Russia and that measures would be taken in particular in terms of demographic and family policies. /p>

The list of concerns from UN experts is long, including on measures taken to prevent discrimination against LGBT+ children so that Russia has banned this international movement, the country posing as the standard bearer of traditional values ​​in the face of the supposed decadence of the West.

In this regard, Mr. Pedernera Reyna expressed concern about the pressure that the Church could exert against abortion, and asked what measures Moscow intended to take to counter them.

While Bolshevik Russia was the first country in the world to decriminalize abortion in 1920, the Kremlin is getting closer step by step to anti-abortion line supported by the Orthodox Church.

The committee also questioned Russia on the right to freedom of birth. association and reunion of children, and on the need for them not to be punished for their participation in demonstrations, particularly against the war.

Committee Chair Ann Marie Skelton also expressed concern about reports that Russia is actively conducting propaganda aimed at promoting x27;political ideology and particular views on armed conflict in schools.

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