Statement by the delegation of Ukraine during 77 UNGA Third Committee general discussion under agenda item «Rights of the Child»

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine  during 77 UNGA Third Committee general discussion  under agenda item «Rights of the Child»

Mr. Chair,

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and would like to make some points in the national capacity.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, its Optional Protocols, relevant resolutions, and the Action Plan, adopted by the Human Rights Council constitute the basis of international system of enhancing and promoting children’s right to survive, live and grow in a healthy environment with their adequate access to education, health, nutrition, safety and security.

Full and effective implementation by the Member States their obligations under the core legally binding international instruments that guarantee the child’s rights to be protected, must be a priority at national, regional and international levels. The Government of Ukraine has made it a strategic priority to do so.

Against the backdrop of Russia’s war against my country, the only way to protect and promote the rights of children in Ukraine is to stop and counter Russia’s aggression, which has affected 7 million children in Ukraine and gravely violates every child’s right.

Let me provide you with just some examples:

the right to life and health is violated daily by shelling, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and the use of prohibited ammunition. As of today, according to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, at least 422 children were killed, 804 were injured. This weekend, 6 children were wounded in the city of Zaporizhzhia as a result of yet another heinous attack by Russia with more than 20 missiles on residential areas.

238 children are missing during hostilities. There are cases of child abduction for ransom and blackmail of local authorities.

These figures are not final, since it is impossible to establish them in the areas of active hostilities and under the temporary occupation of Russia.

The right to life without violence – Ukrainian law enforcement agencies record reports of horrific acts of physical and sexual violence against children, committed by Russian invaders. Millions of children were forced to leave their homes with or without their parents. Almost two out of every three children have been displaced by fighting.

The right to a family - a large number of children in the occupied territories were left without their parents and any other legal representatives.

The situation of forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, Belarus, as well as to the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine requires particular attention and response from the UN and the international community.

Russia declared that more than half a million children from Ukraine have been transferred to its various regions. Of these, more than 2,000 children are orphans or deprived of parental care. To date, the Ukrainian authorities have identified 7,894 children deported to Russia or the temporarily occupied by Russia territories of Ukraine. Special attention is paid to orphans and children deprived of parental care. Up to now, only 59 deported children has been returned to their relatives in Ukraine.

Children from the occupied territories are transferred to Russia and illegally given up for adoption. The forcible transfer of children of one group to another “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” is a violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

On August 23rd, the Russian Krasnodar Department of Family and Childhood publicly announced that over 1,000 Ukrainian children from Mariupol, seized by the Russian army, were illegally transferred to Russian outsiders in Tyumen, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, and Altai Krai; more than 300 children are currently being held in specialized institutions in Krasnodar Krai. Such actions by the Russian Federation grossly violate the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, which stipulates the obligation of the occupying power not to change the personal status of children, as well as the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ukraine calls on the UN authorities and on its Member States to demand from Russia to ensure rapid and safe return of all children forcibly deported from Ukraine.

The right to education - this fall, only 50% of schools in Ukraine are able to provide schooling in person, while others do not meet security requirements. More than 2601 education institutions have suffered bombing and shelling, 309 of them have been destroyed completely.

To protect our children from Russia’s aggression, to stop and prevent violations against them, Ukraine continues its constructive engagement and cooperation with the UN bodies and Special Representatives of the Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in particular.

We commend UNICEF’s efforts in addressing the humanitarian consequences of russia’s full-scale armed aggression, save children’s lives and protect millions of Ukrainian children affected by the war.

We also express our sincere gratitude to all the states that provide humanitarian assistance and shelter to Ukrainian children, carefully address their basic needs, organize a safe environment for them, and call on the international community and institutions to strengthen joint efforts to protect the rights of Ukrainian children, take all possible measures to stop further suffering and violence against children in Ukraine due to the blatant Russian armed aggression.

Thank you.