President of Ukraine

Stories of Ukrainian children were told at the UN Headquarters as part of the Stolen Voices information campaign

27 February 2024 - 11:27

Stories of Ukrainian children were told at the UN Headquarters as part of the Stolen Voices information campaign

On the second anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian children who were returned after being abducted by the Russians visited the UN Headquarters to speak about Russian crimes as part of the Stolen Voices information campaign under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Bring Kids Back UA action plan.

The Permanent Missions of Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Poland, Canada, Latvia, the Netherlands, Estonia and the EU Delegation to the United Nations jointly held a closed meeting to discuss the critical issue of the fate of Ukrainian children abducted by the Russian Federation and their return.

At the meeting, attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Mélanie Joly and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Hanke Bruins Slot, the children's testimonies were heard firsthand. Ideas were also voiced on measures that would facilitate the speedy return of young Ukrainian citizens from Russian deportation, illegal displacement and forced detention, as well as the restoration of their rights.

Thanks to the joint work of various government agencies and non-governmental organizations, only 388 Ukrainian children have been returned from Russia to date.

Daria Herasymchuk, Advisor – Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights and Child Rehabilitation, said in her speech at the closed meeting: "Children who have been returned tell us their stories and allow us to analyze specific scenarios or abduction techniques. The Russian Federation uses a whole arsenal of techniques to abduct Ukrainian children, which is evidence of a targeted state policy. And no matter what it is: whether it is abduction simply from a biological family, or abduction for the purpose of so-called health improvement, rehabilitation, or recreation, or abduction of children after the murder of their parents, separation during filtration, or complete displacement of institutional facilities – it is never an accident. This is a purposeful criminal genocidal policy."

Dmytro Kuleba added that the illegal deportation and forced Russification of Ukrainian children by Russia is part of the Kremlin's genocidal policy against the Ukrainian people.

In his video address, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak noted that there is no global system of child safety in the world today. That is why the Bring Kids Back UA plan was launched at the initiative of the President of Ukraine.

"This is an action plan that covers all aspects of addressing the abduction of Ukrainian children by Russians and their return from deportation and/or forced displacement back to Ukraine: from searching for and returning children to their reintegration, from advocacy to developing family-based forms of upbringing, from documenting Russia's crimes to inter-parliamentary cooperation," he emphasized.

The Stolen Voices information campaign is part of the Bring Kids Back UA action plan. The goal of the campaign is to inform the international community about the crimes of the Russian Federation against Ukrainian children in order to protect them and defend their rights, stop deportation and forced displacement, prevent the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russian families, and take all necessary measures for the safe return and reunification of families in the best interests of the child.