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Andriy Yermak: Ukraine can count on support of the Netherlands in returning home Ukrainian children forcibly deported to Russia

17 Sep, 2023
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Andriy Yermak: Ukraine can count on support of the Netherlands in returning home Ukrainian children forcibly deported to Russia

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Six children who returned to Ukraine after being forcibly deported by Russia met with European leaders in The Hague to tell their stories in person and draw attention to Russia's violations of children's rights.

The children were accompanied by a Ukrainian delegation, which included Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets, President's Commissioner for Children's Rights and Children's Rehabilitation Daria Herasymchuk, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Netherlands Oleksandr Karasevych, and co-founder of the Orphans Feeding Foundation Mariam Lambert.

The two-day event in the Netherlands was organized within the framework of the Bring Kids Back UA action plan approved by President Volodymyr Zelensky, part of which is the Stolen Voices information campaign, with the support of the Orphans Feeding Foundation.

As part of its mission, the Ukrainian delegation provided information on the forced displacement of Ukrainian children by the Russian Federation, including the mechanisms behind Russia's international crime. Representatives of the Dutch side personally heard the terrible stories of the forced deportation of six children.

The meetings were held by Mrs. Hanke Bruins Slot, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and representatives of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Dutch Parliament.

Speaking with the Ukrainian delegation, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands Hanke Bruins Slot announced the intention of the Netherlands to support Ukraine in a new project on family reunification using DNA. Using express DNA tests, the Netherlands aims to help Ukraine create a DNA database that will allow to quickly establishing the family ties of children abducted by Russia and facilitate their return to their families as soon as possible.

"The full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine has led to massive violations of fundamental rights and the spread of illegal deportation and abduction of our children," Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak said. "Our goal is to completely stop the forcible deportation of our children to Russia and take all necessary steps for their safe return home. Ukraine needs the support of allies and partners to return every child to their homeland. Today, these are our Ukrainian children, tomorrow they could be yours," the head of the Office of the President added.

"No one in the world has the right to destroy a peaceful and happy childhood. Let me remind you that only 386 children were returned to Ukraine, and over 19,500 children are waiting for our help. It is necessary to respond urgently to this terrible situation in a joint and effective way," Advisor, President's Commissioner for Children's Rights and Children's Rehabilitation, coordinator of Bring Kids Back UA Daria Herasymchuk.

Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets stated: "We are in the process of developing a mechanism for the return of Ukrainian children. This involves verifying and updating data on deported children, documenting crimes committed by Russia, and proposing practical actions for individual countries to facilitate the return of specific children or groups of children. We continue to identify new cases of forced displacement and deportation of Ukrainian children by the Russian Federation. Those responsible will be held accountable for their actions under the law, and Ukrainian children will be reunited with their families."

"The Orphans Feeding Foundation has been supporting Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, and supporting Bring Kids Back UA is our absolute priority. We are cooperating with the Office of the President of Ukraine and the Ombudsman of Ukraine to find and return the children, and to raise awareness on this topic so that these crimes are recognized by international institutions. Our goal is to make the voices of Ukrainian children heard," Mariam Lambert, co-founder of the Orphans Feeding Foundation, said.

"Any country, organization or individual can join the implementation of the Bring Kids Back UA initiative within the framework of the action plan. We are grateful to many of our friends in the Netherlands who joined the mission of protecting the rights of Ukrainian children and reuniting them with their families. After the productive meetings in The Hague, we are confident that this circle of friends will expand," Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Chief Operating Officer of Bring Kids Back UA Daria Zarivna said.


You can follow the Bring Kids Back UA project on its Telegram channel.

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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