Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform
June 1, 2023, 16:02

Kseniia Korniienko: The OSCE Moscow Mechanism experts recognized the forcible transfer of Ukrainian children and deportation as a war crime and a crime against humanity

On May 4 this year, the OSCE Moscow Mechanism report was published, which is the most comprehensive collection of data on the Ukrainian children deported and forcibly transferred to Russia territory issue. 

Kseniia Korniienko, a lawyer at the Regional Center for Human Rights, presented the report findings during a press conference at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

Thus, she emphasized that the experts of the Moscow Mechanism concluded that the forced displacement of children and their deportation constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity. In addition, Russia has violated a number of provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In particular, this is a violation of the principle of the best interests of the child, a violation of the principle of the right to family, education, access to information, health, recreation, freedom of conscience, and religion.

“Also, the mechanism’s experts did not observe any attempts by Russia to take into account the best interests of children while transferring and to make attempts to reunite them with their families. After all, according to International Humanitarian Law, children may be separated from their families only in order to serve their best interests. Together, all of these acts may also constitute a crime against humanity. Namely, they reach the threshold of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, and punishment,” she explained.

According to the report, the OSCE experts identified the main categories of children Russia moves and deports to its territory. First of all, these are orphans, who are usually placed in specialized educational institutions. These are also children who have been separated from their families and are unaccompanied on the territory of Russia, either because they were separated from their parents during the filtration process or were sent to camps for re-education.

According to Kseniia Korniienko, the report also lists the pretexts used by Russia to move Ukrainian children to its territory. First of all, it’s evacuation for alleged security reasons.

“And in this context, the experts of the Moscow Mechanism for the first time concluded that the transfer from educational institutions, in particular from the Kherson boarding school to the territory of Russia, was a crime against humanity and a war crime,” the lawyer emphasized.

She added that one of the pretexts used by Russia to transfer Ukrainian children is to place them for adoption or foster care. First, Russia seeks to displace orphans and children deprived of parental care to Russian families for their further transfer to the Russian educational system and change their identity.

“Children are also taken to Russia and to the territories temporarily under Russian occupation for recreation and rehabilitation. At the same time, parents are promised that their children will be returned to them after the end of such a vacation, but this does not happen, as Russia delays the return to their parents and reunification with their families as much as possible,” said Kseniia Korniienko. 

According to her, the conclusions of the Moscow Mechanism experts regarding the adoption of children are essential.

“And it is important to note that the first adoptions that took place back in 2014 were recognized, through the implementation of the Train of Hope initiative, when at least a thousand children were taken from Crimea to Russia and then transferred to Russian families, and we do not know these children further destiny.”

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