Bi-Weekly Digest 6
- July 31: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is likely to head to New York in September for the United Nations General Assembly, where he is expected to make the case for his “peace formula” plan, according to people familiar with the matter. Separately, the US could hold a Security Council meeting next month on child protection issues to coincide with Ukraine’s independence day, on Aug. 24, According to Bloomberg.
- July 28: Ukraine initiated criminal proceedings against the Head of the Belarusian Red Cross, Dmytro Shevtsov.
- July 22: Russia deported 100 more children from temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The occupiers sent a new batch of Ukrainian children to camps to participate in cultural and educational activities. For example, children were taken from Kalanchak to the “Forest Fairy Tale” sanatorium in Saransk (Mordovia).
- July 21: Head of the Belarusian Red Cross, Dmytro Shevtsov, during a trip to the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine, noted that his organization is involved in the “rehabilitation” (aka forcible deportation) of children from Ukraine. Meanwhile, the International Red Cross stated that it did not know about the trip of the head of the Belarusian Central Committee to the occupied territories of Ukraine and was in no way involved in his activities, in particular, the removal of Ukrainian children “for rehabilitation”.
- July 20: Russian occupation authorities in a village of Kherson Oblast forced residents to take Russian passports, threatening them with deportation to Russia, the National Resistance Center reported.
- July 19: Up to 80 high school students from the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk region were taken by Russians to the military academy in Kostroma, Russian Federation. These abducted children are presently undergoing “military training” at the training ground of the Military Academy of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection, and Engineering Forces named after S.K. Tymoshenko.
- July 18: Saudi Arabia and Turkey are attempting to mediate an agreement between Kyiv and Moscow, aimed at facilitating the repatriation of Ukrainian children who were abducted and forcibly taken to Russia.
- July 18: The European Parliament called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant against Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
- July 18: The Kyiv Independent presented an investigative documentary about unlawfully deported Ukrainian children “Unrooted”. The investigative documentary “Unrooted”, created by investigative journalists Olesia Bida & Danylo Mokryk and directed by Vitalii Havura, reveals the hidden operations behind the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. This film narrates the experiences of a specific group of children referred to as “Group 31,” who were forcefully abducted by Russian troops occupying Mariupol to Russia in May 2022. These children remain unable to return home, including Pylyp Holovnya, who was unlawfully adopted by Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, who has received a warrant of arrests from the International Criminal Court.
- The Helsinki Group held a meeting on the 26th of July dedicated to the challenges of rescuing Ukrainian women and children from Russian aggression.
- The Minister of Reintegration Iryna Vereshchuk held a meeting at which the issue of the work of the Unified Register of Persons, including children, deported or forcibly displaced in connection with the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine was considered. This register is at the disposal of the National Information Bureau under the Ministry of Reintegration
- The South African government stated on July 21 that it failed to fulfill its international obligations by refusing to immediately issue a warrant for the arrest of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in the event of his entry into the country.
- “The Forcible Transfer and Deportation of Ukrainian Children by Russia: Search for Solutions” webinar took place on July 12, 2023. The webinar was hosted by Georgetown University’s Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues and the Institute for Women, Peace, and Security in collaboration with organizations advocating for the return of deported Ukrainian children — Where Are Our People?, Razom for Ukraine, and the US-Ukraine Foundation.
The webinar underscored the urgent necessity of promptly repatriating deported Ukrainian children, emphasizing the importance of avoiding any further delays resulting from Ukraine’s sluggish progress in resolving the ongoing conflict. Esteemed legal experts, including Kateryna Rashevska, Erin Farrell Rosenberg, Steven Schrage, and others, unanimously concurred that the international human rights and security organizations lack sufficient authority to facilitate the repatriation of Ukrainian children deported to Russia. The experts noted that the existing statutes governing these organizations are outdated and fail to align with the pressing challenges they purport to address.
Materials we facilitated
- An article about the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in deportation of Ukrainians
- An article about the legal aspect of Russia’s forcible deportation of Ukrainian children by our researcher Vladyslav Havrylov
- A material about the historic parallels of the Soviet and contemporary Russian deportations of Ukrainians, especially children by our researched Vladyslav Havrylov
- A material about two killed teenageres in temporarily occupied Berdiansk
- A story of a deported man with disabilities
Experts on the topic
- Alyona Lunyova, advocacy manager, expert on human rights and deportations, NGO Zmina and “Ukraine. 5 am Coalition”.
- Emmanuel Daoud, Lawyer at VIGO Law Firm (Paris). Can comment on legal information about qualifications of crimes: genocide and deportations.
- Erin Farrell Rosenberg, a visiting scholar with the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
- Steven Schrage, the executive director of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.
- Bogdana Yakovenko, an executive board member with Helping to Leave, where she co-leads the department of aid for the deported.
- Kateryna Rashevska, a legal expert at the Regional Center for Human Rights.
- David Allen Schlaefer, the principal director for Ukraine in the U.S. State Department’s Office for Global Criminal Justice, focused on war crimes accountability.
- Onysiia Syniuk, international lawyer of the Center for Human Rights “ZMINA”. Areas of professional interest include international humanitarian and criminal law, the proper implementation of the standards of these fields in Ukraine.
- Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine which is directly responsible for bringing back deported Ukrainians.
- Vladyslav Havrylov, PhD in history, researcher of the history of Russian deportations.
- Serhii Hromenko, Ukrainian historian, publicist and public figure, candidate of historical sciences, expert of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future.
- Vira Yastrebova, director of the “Skhidna Pravozahysna grupa” (Eastern Human Rights Group). Expert on deportation of children, crimes against children (during deportation) – In the captured territories, the occupiers forcefully send Ukrainian children to donate blood for their soldiers; erase identity.
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