International Day of Missing Children: how many young Ukrainians were abducted by russia
Unfortunately, the issue of missing children is a very acute problem around the world. And Ukrainians have faced the incredible scale of this tragedy due to the armed aggression of the russian federation. Find out how many children have been abducted by russia and why these actions are a sign of genocide against the Ukrainian people
In 2019, Ukraine joined the global trend and established May 25 as the Day of Missing Children. Initially, the Day was initiated by the United States of America, and in 2002, the European Center for Missing and Sexually Abused Children joined the initiative.
The main idea of the Day is to draw the world's attention to the problem of missing children and to provide detailed coverage of the issue of violence against children.
Why is this day so important for Ukraine, and how many children have been forcibly taken to russia?
Ukraine has been suffering from the armed aggression of the russian federation for more than 9 years, but the events that befell Ukrainians after February 24, 2022, led to a tragedy of unspeakable proportions, as the number of children affected by russia's aggression has increased to unprecedented levels.
Thus, as of the end of May 2023, according to official data, 19,486 thousand children were abducted by russia. However, according to unofficial data, we are talking about almost 700 thousand young Ukrainians, as there were about 100,000 children in Mariupol alone.
To date, only 369 deported children have been returned.
As for other crimes committed by russia against Ukrainian children, it is impossible to calculate their exact number because Ukraine still does not have complete information about the events in the occupied territories. According to the statistics of the Office of the Prosecutor General, as of the end of May 482 children died in Ukraine as a result of the actions of the russian federation, and 984 more were injured of varying severity. In addition, about 20 criminal proceedings on sexual violence against children by the russian military have been officially registered.
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What is the difficulty of returning abducted children to the territory of Ukraine?
Children are deported from Ukraine under various pretexts:
● Those who lived with their parents are lured by the opportunity to study in some special institutions or undergo rehabilitation in a sanatorium;
● Children deprived of parental care are taken away by force, without any argumentation;
● In some cases, parents or guardians are offered large social benefits.
Immediately upon crossing the border, they try to change the children's documents in order to manipulate the fact that they are citizens of the russian federation in the future. In addition, the russian authorities do not even hide the militarization of children, which takes place throughout the country through such movements and organizations as the "Unarmiia", "Dvizhenie", and others.
In the end, children and their parents are only hostages of the situation, as constant shelling and lack of any material support leave them no choice. Moreover, in the occupied territories, people suffer from a lack of truthful information and a lack of understanding of the overall situation in the country, and are forced to act with only their family's lives in mind.
Another problem is that, according to international law, minors do not have the right to travel without a parent or legal guardian, which ultimately makes it temporarily impossible for a significant number of children to return. Indeed, some parents are physically unable to travel to russia because one of their close relatives serves in the armed forces, as they would simply not be allowed back and would be enslaved in russia.
In addition, according to former Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Mykola Kuleba, the children who were able to return home today were forced to undergo numerous and hours-long interrogations by the FSB, which is beyond the capacity of any child.
Therefore, legal mechanisms and means of influencing the russian authorities are currently being worked out in order to return all the little Ukrainians home. We have described the procedure for the return of forcibly deported children and the algorithm of actions for relatives or guardians of a missing child in more detail here.
Why are russia's actions genocide of the Ukrainian people?
At the international level, russia's abduction of Ukrainian children has not yet been recognized as genocide. However, everyone knows how long and meticulously the UN takes to make a decision. But it is important that without national recognition, international recognition is impossible, and therefore Ukrainians must unite around this issue and convey to the world the real scale of the tragedy caused by the russian authorities. After all, the replacement of passport documents, forced deportation and propaganda are all direct signs of genocide and the actual destruction of Ukrainian identity.
We remind you! Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, tens of thousands of people have been reported missing. The vast majority of them have been found. However, about 23,000 people are still officially confirmed as missing as a result of the hostilities. A Unified Register of Missing Persons has been created to help search for loved ones, read more about how to use it here.
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25 May. 2023More details
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