Ukraine continues dialogue with Argentina on return of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia

This week, a Ukrainian delegation headed by Daria Gerasymchuk, Advisor to the Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights and Child Rehabilitation, visited Argentina. The visit was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine as part of the Stolen Voices information campaign to implement the President’s action plan Bring Kids Back UA.

This visit was a continuation of the dialogue initiated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy with President of Argentina Javier Millais.

Darya Gerasymchuk and Ambassador of Ukraine to Argentina Yurii Klymenko met with representatives of the Argentine government, including First Deputy Minister of Justice for Human Rights Alberto Julio Baños and Undersecretary for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism of the Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires Pamela Malevich.

The Ukrainian delegation also held meetings at the Delegation of the European Union with its Head Amador Sánchez Rico and ambassadors of EU countries, with Atilio Alvarez, public advocate for the rights of minors and persons with disabilities, as well as with representatives of the Legislature of Buenos Aires, the Ukrainian community, diplomats, students, teachers, experts and local media.

At the meeting with the leadership of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ambassador of Ukraine thanked the Argentine side for Buenos Aires’ commitment to the implementation of points 1 and 5 of the Ukrainian Peace Formula and emphasized the importance of Argentina’s joining the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children, which already includes 36 countries.

During the discussion of the fate of Ukrainian children abducted by Russia and their return, the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine emphasized the importance of point 4 of the Peace Formula for saving the future of Ukraine – its children abducted by Russia. “The voice of Argentina should be heard confidently in the Coalition of countries, because you have your own traumatic memories and lost children’s lives. Today, Ukrainian children are suffering from Russian aggression, tomorrow it may be children from another country, if we do not fight the absolute evil that Russia is today,” emphasized Daria Gerasymchuk. “By joining efforts to rescue abducted Ukrainian children in pursuance of point 4 of the Peace Formula, countries of the world will be able to create a new effective system of child protection worldwide,” she added.

The Argentine side assured that it is considering joining the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children. During a meeting at the National Congress of Argentina, the Ukrainian delegation learned about a draft declaration on Argentina’s accession to this coalition, submitted by a group of Argentine parliamentarians. The Ukrainian side expressed its gratitude and hope for the early adoption of this initiative.

In the halls of Argentina’s highest state authorities, teenagers Ivan Matkovsky and Vladyslav Buriak told their stories of Russian atrocities. Vlad spent 90 days in Russian captivity and witnessed torture of civilians, while Ivan was kidnapped, forcibly moved to Donetsk, and almost ended up in a “new Russian family.” They called on Argentina to become partners in the fight against the Russian aggressor.

Darya Gerasymchuk said that the state, with the help of civil society organizations, managed to return only about 400 children from deportation and forced displacement.

“This is an extremely difficult task. The return of each child is an extremely difficult task, because the Russians are doing everything possible to confuse the traces and prevent us from finding and returning our children,” she said.

The Ombudsman drew attention to the state portal “Children of War”, which provides daily updates on cases of forced displacement and deportation of Ukrainian children, which are reported to the Ukrainian authorities, the number of children’s victims, both injured and killed, the facts of disappearance of children and the number of children who have been found.

Daria Gerasymchuk said that the National Information Bureau has collected information on about 20 thousand cases of abduction of Ukrainian children, deportation or forced displacement. The names and data of the children have been verified by the relevant state authorities. She emphasized that Russia is pursuing a deliberate genocidal policy. “Today, there is no global system of child safety in the world – this is exactly what the broken fates of Ukrainian children and their lost lives have proved,” she added.

The parties also discussed the Bring Kids Back UA plan initiated by the President of Ukraine. Darya Gerasymchuk explained that this plan covers all aspects of solving the issue of abduction of Ukrainian children by Russians and their return: search, reintegration, advocacy, development of family-based forms of education, documentation of Russia’s crimes and inter-parliamentary cooperation.

For reference: The information campaign “Stolen Voices”, within which the joint efforts of the Office of the President of Ukraine and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the support of the Renaissance Foundation, managed to ensure the arrival of the Ukrainian delegation to Argentina, is part of the Bring Kids Back UA action plan. The goal of the campaign is to inform the international community about the crimes of the Russian Federation against Ukrainian children in order to save them and protect their rights, stop deportation and forced displacement, prevent the forced transfer of Ukrainian children to Russian families, and to take all possible measures to ensure the safe return of Ukrainian children back to Ukraine.

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