April 11, 2024

Ukraine and Canada held the 2nd pleanary meeting of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children involving 35 countries

On April 11, Ukraine and Canada held a second plenary meeting of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children, with over 50 states and international organizations in attendance. The focus was on initiatives for the return and reintegration of Ukrainian children deported or displaced by Russia.

Opening the event, Kati Csaba, Executive Director of the Ukraine Bureau at Global Affairs Canada, emphasized: "The scope of the coalition's activities is expanding, and the number of countries involved continues to grow. Today's meeting aims to provide our partners with clear and detailed information on Ukraine's efforts to return abducted children and how coalition members can support these efforts."

During the meeting, Ukraine presented specific projects and ways to engage countries in active work on the return of children illegally deported and forcibly displaced by Russia. The proposed initiatives cover the following areas: identifying the whereabouts of abducted Ukrainian children, developing mechanisms for their return, participating in diplomatic negotiations, supporting children after their return and ensuring their rehabilitation, bringing perpetrators to justice, and conducting joint information campaigns.

The Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, also emphasized the importance of joint meetings of the coalition members. "Today, at the coalition meeting, projects were presented that will facilitate the return and reintegration of Ukrainian children. I am pleased to welcome the readiness of the coalition members to support the implementation of the projects proposed by Ukraine in the near future," he said.

Representative of the Commissioner for Children's Rights Iryna Suslova presented a project aimed at the safe return of children deported or forcibly displaced by Russia: "The most important task today is the physical return of Ukrainian children home. It is important to act quickly, because the identity of minors is being destroyed under the pressure of Russian propaganda."

Iryna Tuliakova, Head of the Coordination Center for the Development of Family Upbringing and Child Care, has discussed projects focused on reintegration, provision of necessary rehabilitation assistance, and placement of children in family-based care.

Yuliia Usenko, Head of the Department for Protection of Children's Interests and Combating Domestic Violence of the Prosecutor General's Office, presented ideas with focuses on holding accountable criminals who planned, organized, and implemented policies of deporting Ukrainian children.

Eventually, Daria Herasymchuk, Advisor to the President of Ukraine for Children's Rights and Children's Rehabilitation, called on to spread awareness: "We must loudly speak out about the crimes of deporting Ukrainian children, as well as about all efforts made by Ukraine and the global community to overcome this issue." 

Following the second plenary meeting of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children, dozens of countries expressed their willingness to actively participate in the implementation of projects presented by Ukraine that will facilitate the return and reintegration of Ukrainian children.  

The total number of countries participating in the coalition has increased to 35 due to the accession of two new members – Liechtenstein and Slovenia. Thanks to all partners for their contribution to the mission of bringing all kids back home. We call on other countries to join and contribute in every way possible to rescue young Ukrainians.