Ukraine: “credible accusations” of children forcibly transferred to Russia

Ukraine: “credible accusations” of children transferred from force in Russia

MISE À DAY

There are 'credible accusations' of lone children being forcibly transferred from Ukraine to Russia, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Human Rights said on Wednesday, worrying of their possible adoption by Russian families. 

“There are credible accusations of forcible transfers of unaccompanied children to Russian-occupied territory or to the Russian Federation herself,” Ilze Brands Kehris told a UN Security Council meeting on forced displacement in Ukraine.

“We are concerned that the Russian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to children who are not in the custody of their parents, and that these children are eligible for adoption by Russian families,” said she added.

She also indicated that the High Commission for Human Rights, of which she is a member, had been able to “confirm” that the Russian armed forces had set up “screening”, a form of security screening and collection of personal and biometric data.

These controls apply to people leaving a combat zone or crossing into Russian-controlled territory.

Ukraine: 'credible accusations' of children forcibly transferred to Russia

Ukraine: “credible accusations” of children forcibly transferred to Russia

“We are concerned that such checks, and the detentions that follow, take place outside any legal framework and do not respect the principles of necessity and proportionality,” she said, citing “credible information” of “numerous human rights violations.”

The High Commission has itself been able to “document” cases where people subject to this “screening” were subjected to strip searches, sometimes having to strip naked.

“We are particularly concerned about the risk of sexual abuse that women and girls face during these screening procedures,” she added.

The United States, which initiated the Security Council meeting with Albania, on Wednesday accused the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin of directly organizing the forced displacement of thousands of Ukrainians to Russia. Operations carried out “as part of its efforts to annex parts of Ukrainian territories under its control,” said a deputy spokesman for American diplomacy.

Several other members of the Council security forces, notably France and the United Kingdom, have also expressed concern about testimonies of forced displacements.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassili Nebenzia has rejected all these “unfounded” accusations that he called a 'legend'.

Ukrainians going to Russia are subject to 'a registration procedure and not a screening procedure', as in Poland or other EU countries which host refugees, he assured.

“We prefer to talk about real problems rather than invented problems. After wasting time today talking about the latest conjectures and fantasies, we propose that tomorrow we talk about real threats to peace, the supply of arms to Ukraine by foreign states, “said the ambassador.