June 1, 2023, 14:42

A single mechanism involving a third party needs to be adopted to return all Ukrainian children forcibly deported – Kseniia Korniienko

Currently, over 19 thousand Ukrainian children abducted by Russia have been identified. According to various sources, there may be as many as 700,000 children who are still not.  The only mechanism that will help to return all Ukrainian children transferred by Russia is the comprehensive mechanism involving a third-party creation. 

This conviction was expressed by Kseniia Korniienko, a lawyer at the Regional Center for Human Rights, at a press conference at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

“The only possible proper way is to develop a comprehensive third-party intervention mechanism for return. This part can be either given to a country or an international organization. Even the OSCE can be involved as such an entity. A series of agreements between Ukraine and a third state and between Russia and a third state, which obligates Russia to provide lists of children transferred from the occupied territories to the territory of Russia, can be concluded only through this process. This way, the process of returning these children can begin, taking into account the best interests of each individual child,” she explained.

At the same time, Kseniia Korniienko warned that having no third-party intervention, or specific agreements that would spell out Russia’s obligations to provide such lists, the return process at the current pace could take up to 50 years.

“Because now this process mainly involves only non-governmental organizations as parents’ contact with them, seeking help, know for sure that their child has been deported and is on the territory of Russia. Separate missions are organized to establish contacts with Russian government officials, and heads of institutions where the child is being held, directly for each specific situation. But this is all an arduous process, a financially difficult one, a morally difficult one for parents, and as well dangerous,” the lawyer noted.

Kseniia Korniienko is convinced that in order to return all the children, in order to leave no Ukrainian child displaced in Russia, we need a unified mechanism involving a third state based on international law.

“Only in this way is it really possible to return all the children unlawfully deported.”

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news