UN Bachelet concerned about Ukrainian orphans being ‘deported’ to Russia for adoption – Global Affairs

Michelle Bachelet told Dong Nhan Quyen Association that her Office, OHCHRlooked into allegations that the children had been taken from orphanages in the Donbas, where Russia has gradually gained ground amid intense fighting in recent weeks.

“OHCHR These allegations have not been confirmed yet or the number of children who might be in such a situation,” said Ms. Bachelet. “We are concerned about the alleged schemes of the Russian authorities to allow the transfer of children from Ukraine to families in the Russian Federation, does not seem to include steps to reunite the family or respect the best interests of the child. ”

Care organization

Before the Russian invasion on February 24, there were more than 91,000 children in orphanages, boarding schools and other institutions of Ukraine for young people, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF.

In a statement, the UN agency said it was aware of reports that Russia “may amendments to existing laws to facilitate fast-tracking of adoptionn” of orphans from the Donbas.

“UNICEF is of the opinion that Adoptions must never happen during or immediately after emergencies. Children separated from their parents during a humanitarian emergency cannot be considered orphans. Every opportunity should be created for family reunification.”

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At a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday, Investigative Committee on Ukraine – created by the Human Rights Council at the request of Member States in March – said that testimonies received by the Human Rights Council indicated that “a significant number of children were lost in temporarily occupied territories, especially children from educational institutions”.

However, there is currently no “clear evidence” of the number of young people missing from state-run centers, and it is difficult to confirm reports that they have been brought to Russia and given away. civil rights, Jasminka Dzumhur, one of the three investigators making up the panel.

At a press conference scheduled in the Ukrainian capital to mark the investigators’ first visit to the country, Investigative Committee Chairman Erik Mose said the panel had arrived in Bucha, Irpin, Kharkiv and Sumy, locations of suspected war criminals.

Painful confession

A boy's shoes are displayed at the Red Cross tent for mothers and children at Lviv train station, Ukraine.

“In Bucha and Irpin, the Commission received information about the arbitrary killing of civilians, destruction and looting of property, as well as attacks on civilian infrastructure, including schools, ‘ said Mr. Mose.

“In the Kharkiv and Sumy regions, the Commission observed the devastation of large urban areas, believed to be the result of aerial bombardment, shelling or missile attacks on civilian targets. the”.

In line with its mandate, the Commission has also heard reports from internally displaced persons, including those from eastern Ukraine, whom the Commission intends to examine further.

These testimonies include “stories of civilian property destruction, looting, detention, mistreatment, and disappearances of civilians, as well as reports of rapes and other forms of sexual abuse.” other,” said Committee member Ms. Dzumhur.

Describing 10 days of panel work as “productive,” Mr. Mose noted that individuals shared their “painful stories” that, if confirmed, “may support claims that serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, possibly war crimes and crimes against humanity, have been committed in the areas of“.

In the coming weeks and months, the Commission will visit other regions of Ukraine before updating the Human Rights Council in September.

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