UN urges Russia to end forcible transfer of Ukrainian children

GENEVA — The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Thursday urged Russia to end the forcible transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine in violation of international law, and return them to their families.

Kyiv says 20,000 children have been taken from Ukraine to Russia without family or guardians’ consent, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged illegal deportation, an accusation the Kremlin denies.

In a report on Russia, the UN committee said Moscow should provide information about the precise number of children taken from Ukraine and their whereabouts, so they can be identified and returned.

Moscow, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has rejected the accusations, saying it has merely been protecting vulnerable children from a war zone.

The committee also said Russia should ensure that no child was deprived of their Ukrainian nationality, and that their identity, name and family relations must be preserved.

The ICC issued arrest warrants last March for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, on charges of illegally deporting children from Ukraine.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor said Russia had transferred “at least hundreds” of children from orphanages and care homes in occupied regions of Ukraine, and that many had been given up for adoption.

The Kremlin dismissed the ICC allegations as “outrageous and unacceptable.” — Reuters

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