Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The concept note of this Arria Formula meeting says “The act of forcible separation of children from their families inflicts profound emotional and psychological scars.” Indeed, in Ukraine, many parents are devastated by the forceful separation of their children, demanding their immediate return. And they should never be deprived of a family environment.
Discussing the case of illegal deportation of children under armed conflict without addressing the root cause would be an injustice, and even constitute a negligence on the part of the Council responsible for international peace and security.
Attempts to cloak their actions in Ukraine under the guise of a noble endeavour will not convince anyone. Forcible transfer of children may constitute violation of international humanitarian law and even amount to war crimes. It merely seems as though this Arria-Formula meeting is a yet another doomed attempt to portray the aggressor as a champion of justice, only inviting cries of injustice.
And the real justice is waiting to come. The ICC, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, and others have extensively documented Russia's involvement in the forced deportation of children from Ukraine. Although the exact number remains elusive, the magnitude and alarming stories surrounding this matter cannot be understated.
I would like to conclude by reiterating that the very safety of children in the conflict-ravaged regions of Ukraine is being compromised every day by Russia's unlawful aggression. This so-called "evacuation" is making the situation worse, not better. Only with the immediate withdrawal of Russian military forces and equipment from Ukraine, respecting its internationally recognized borders, will we see these sufferings alleviated.