BRING KIDS BACK UA
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, thousands of children have been forcibly removed by Russia from their families, friends and homes. The Ukraine humanitarian programme ‘Bring Kids Back UA’ aims to identify the stolen children of Ukraine, increase international support for repatriation and care for as many of the deported children as possible, and provide input of their cases to the International Criminal Court of The Hague.
It is impossible to know the exact number of Ukrainian children who have been forcibly displaced by Russia since the beginning of the war because the Ukrainian authorities do not have access to Russia or the Occupied Territories. So far, the Ukrainian government has only been able to identify 19,546 of them, while the Russian authorities mention up to 700,000 Ukrainian children now in Russia. To this date, less than 400 children have been returned to Ukraine and re-united with their families. According to international law, including the 1948 Genocide Convention, such acts constitute genocide if done with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a nation or ethnic group. The United Nations has therefore stated that these deportations constitute war crimes.
Mandated by the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, the “Bring Kids Back UA” project unites the efforts of the Ukrainian government, partner countries and international organisations to trace, identify, repatriate and care for the Ukrainian children.
Besides the obvious goal of reuniting Ukrainian families and giving back those children their lives, the programme also aims to provide the ICC (International Criminal Court in The Hague) with facts and proven information they need to prosecute the criminals responsible for these illegal deportations. To ensure a sustainable peace of mind for those torn families, it is paramount that those crimes don’t go unpunished.
Those unfortunate children will have lived a traumatic experience that no one would wish for their children. In order to make them feel as safe as possible after we bring them back “home”, Bring Kids Back UA has teamed up with CRPC (Children’s Rights Protection Centre) and various NGO’s active in Ukraine to set up rehabilitation centres for the children and their guardians. These centres will have psychologists, therapists, artists and teachers to help them reintegrate to “normal” life and forget -as much as possible- the terrible time they have lived abroad.
‘Bring Kids Back UA’ programme
The ‘Bring Kids Back UA’ action plan was presented by the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. The Coordination Council for Child Protection and Safety under the President of Ukraine, chaired by the Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak, together with the unified efforts of the Ukrainian government, partner countries and international organisations, aims at returning the Stolen Children of Ukraine.
The action plan covers the following components:
- Identification and location of the Ukrainian children deported by Russia
- Advocacy and international diplomacy support to bring the kids back home
- Rescue and protection of Ukrainian children
- Reintegration of children who have returned from illegal deportation
- Aftercare and development of infrastructures to host the returned children and their families
- Documentation of crimes for submission to the ICC by the Ukrainian authorities.
Ukraine wants help to pressure Russia to return children
President Zelenskyy opens Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights
Olena Zelenska and Korea’s First Lady visit Children’s Rights Centre to learn about how child victims are interviewed