ZMINA with Ukraine 5AM Coalition contributed to the OSCE report on deportation of Ukrainian children
On May 4, 2023, the OSCE Moscow Mechanism mission published a report on violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights law, war crimes and crimes against humanity related to the forcible transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children to the Russian Federation.
The Mission concluded that numerous and overlapping violations of the rights of the Ukrainian children deported to Russia have taken place. Not only has Russia manifestly violated the best interests of children repeatedly, it has also denied their right to identity, to family as well as violated their rights to education, access to information, right to rest, leisure, play, recreation and participation in cultural life and arts as well as right to thought, conscience and religion, right to health, and the right to liberty and security.
These are ongoing violations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The cumulative effects of these violations also give rise to very serious concerns that the rights of children to be free from torture and ill-treatment have been violated.
The report also shows that the practice of the forcible transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children to the temporarily occupied territories and to the territory of Russia may amount to a crime against humanity of “deportation or forcible transfer of population”.
The Mission, composed of three experts – Prof. Veronika Bílková (Czech Republic), Dr. Cecilie Hellestveit (Norway) and Dr. Elīna Šteinerte (Latvia), examined the issue of deportation and forcible transfer of Ukrainian children in detail. They collected numerous materials and conducted online or in-person interviews, primarily with representatives of NGOs human rights defenders. The Mission also visited Kyiv, during which ZMINA’s representatives had an opportunity to present the facts documented by the organization regarding the deportation and forcible transfer of Ukrainian children during the Russian armed aggression. ZMINA also made a submission to the Moscow Mechanism, which was used during the work on the report.
This is already the third report prepared by experts of the OSCE Moscow mechanism on Ukraine: a “Report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine since 24 February 2022” and a “Report on violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine” were published last year.
The OSCE Moscow Mechanism was invoked by 45 OSCE participating States following bilateral consultations with Ukraine. The mandate of the Mission was to “address the deportation of children amidst human rights violations and humanitarian impacts of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine”.
Photo credit: Getty Images, UNICEF, AP Photo/Steffi Loos