UK statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children. Delivered by UK Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French.

Rita French

Thank you, Mr President.

We welcome the report and advocacy of the Special Representative to end violence against children around the world, and for bringing our collective attention to the specific vulnerabilities faced by children on the move.

Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine continues to gravely violate children’s rights. Over 19,500 Ukrainian children have been forcibly transferred or deported to Russia or Russian temporarily controlled territory by Russian authorities. Only 388 children have so far been returned to Ukraine. 

We are also deeply concerned by reports that Ukrainian children forcibly taken from Ukraine are being adopted in Russia. This is a despicable and systematic attempt to erase Ukrainian identity, and with it, Ukraine’s future.

We are determined to hold to account those responsible for forcibly deporting and attempting to indoctrinate Ukrainian children.

We call for Russia to cease its aggression and for the immediate, safe return of all Ukrainian children so that they can rightly be reunited with their families and loved ones, where they belong. 

Madam Special Representative,

In your report you highlight the importance of the right of the child to preserve their identity in the context of conflicts. How can your mandate contribute to our collective endeavour to safely return all Ukrainian children?

Published 13 March 2024