The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child condemned violations of the rights of Ukrainian children by the Russian Federation

A joint press-releas of ADC Memorial and Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Upon consideration of the state report of the Russian Federation at the 95th session of the UN CRC in January 2024, the Committee issued recommendations to Russia with harsh criticism of violations of the rights of Ukrainian children. The Committee takes into account children who suffered both from military operations on the territory of Ukraine and those who found themselves in temporarily occupied territories, as well as those taken to Russia.

The Committee considers the Russian authorities responsible for the murders and injuries of hundreds of children as a result of indiscriminate attacks with explosive weapons with wide area effects; the removal or deportation of thousands of children from Ukraine, including from temporarily occupied areas; the application of a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to children taken to the Russian Federation or located in temporarily occupied territories, and the deprivation of their Ukrainian citizenship in violation of the Convention and international humanitarian law; arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture, sexual violence against children in the occupied territory of Ukraine; attacks on hospitals, schools and educational institutions and the occupation of schools by the Russian armed forces, restricting access to education for millions of children.

During the dialogue with the Russian delegation in Geneva, the Committee’s experts called on the Russian authorities to immediately stop military aggression. In its recommendations, the Committee indicated that the Russian Federation should cooperate with the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Situation in Ukraine and the International Criminal Court, investigate all reports of violence of any kind against children in the context of the war and punish the commanders, law enforcement officers and penitentiary institutions responsible for these crimes. The Committee demanded to recognize that hospitals and schools cannot be targets of attack, and to take measures to prevent the military use of schools by Russian armed forces and groups, as well as to approve the Safe School Declaration.

In the context of violations of children’s rights provided by the Convention and international humanitarian law, the Committee called on the Russian authorities to put an end to the forced displacement or deportation of children from the occupied territory of Ukraine to Russia; provide information on the exact number and location of the removed children, ensure registration of their origin and their speedy return to Ukraine; ensure the preservation of Ukrainian citizenship of children taken to the Russian Federation or located in the occupied territories.

A number of recommendations relate to the field of education. Thus, the Committee is concerned about the general militarization of the Russian school system, affecting all children but most negatively the Ukrainian ones, as well as the fact that Russian educational programs have been introduced in the occupied territories of Ukraine. In particular, the Committee is concerned about reported pressure on teachers in Crimea to force them to actively support and cultivate a positive attitude of schoolchildren towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine and refrain from criticizing the Russian authorities. Noting violations of the rights to education in their native language in Crimea, the Committee called for ensuring the right of children to study in Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar and to use these languages freely.

The Committee’s recommendations responded to the issues raised in the joint report of the ADC Memorial and the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.

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