Mariam Lambert RIGA keynote

The co-founder and Director of Operations of Orphans Feeding Foundation, Mariam Lambert, was invited as a keynote speaker at the “Russia’s War on Children” conference in Riga on February 1st, 2024.

The primary focus of the conference was the deportation of Ukrainian children by Russia, highlighting it as a crime of genocide. The main objective was to find joint solutions for the safe return of all children to their homes and provide them with the necessary social support, in line with the “Bring Kids Back UA” program under President Zelenskyy.

The conference saw the participation of prominent politicians, human rights defenders, and experts from Ukraine and various countries. Distinguished guests included First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, President of Latvia Edgars Rinkevichs, Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin, Head of the Special Committee on Ukrainian Children in the PACE Olena Khomenko, The Representative of the Commissioner of human rights Ukraine, representatives from international organizations such as the OSCE, the Bundestag, the Rafal Lemkin Institute for the Prevention of Genocide, the Yale Laboratory for Humanitarian Studies, and leading public and international organizations assisting in the return of Ukrainian children.

Throughout the conference, the importance of collaboration between departments, civil society, and international organizations was emphasized. This collaboration has resulted in the development of a mechanism for the safe return of Ukrainian children, outlining the process from locating the child to their reintegration after their return.

During her speech, Mariam Lambert highlighted the importance of the better care for every child returned from deportation or illegally transferred to occupied territories.

She also made a heartfelt request to all Ukrainians to stop thanking us:
“Instead, we should be the ones saying sorry:
Sorry that after two years, we haven’t been able to bring back all the children.
Sorry that despite conferences and global awareness, you are still pleading for our support.
Sorry to all Ukrainians for the pain and suffering you have endured.”