On 9 December, the inaugural meeting of the International Coalition of Countries for the Return of Ukrainian Children took place in Kyiv.
Since the onset of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has intensified its disturbing practice of forcibly deporting Ukrainian children from occupied territories to Russia. Russian authorities often alter the identities of these children, making it harder for their families to locate and reunite with them.
The forced displacement of children from one group to another with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national group is considered a crime of genocide under point (e) of Article 2 of the 1948 Convention on Genocide, which was previously emphasized by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Ukraine officially registered 19,540 cases of Russia’s abduction of Ukrainian children, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, said during the Freedom or Fear international human rights conference in Kyiv on 7 December.
At the December 9 Coalition’s meeting, the Ukrainian President’s Office Head Andrii Yermak stressed the crucial role of global support in crafting effective measures for the safe return of Ukrainian children unlawfully deported by Russia. He also expressed gratitude to Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, co-chair of the international high-level expert group Bring Kids Back UA, and all those present for their participation in the “crucial” gathering.