By Paul Goble
Russia must be held responsible for committing genocide in Ukraine because of the ways it has treated Ukrainian children in ways that deprive them of their rights and the Ukrainian nation of its future, Darya Gerasymchuk, the Ukrainian ombudsman for children’s rights, says.
In an interview with Radio France International’s Russian Service, she details the many ways in which Russian invaders and occupiers are in violation of the genocide convention and expresses her full support for the open letter French intellectuals published in Le Monde on August 1 (rfi.fr/ru/украина/20220808-уполномоченная-по-правам-ребенка-при-президенте-украины-россия-должна-нести-ответственность-за-геноцид).
Among the Russian actions against Ukrainian children Kyiv has documented are the deportation of Ukrainian children from territories occupied by Russia, the simplification of adoption procedures by the Russian authorities so that they can grow up in Russian families, and the changing of documents to hide the Ukrainian origin of the children.
All these things, Gerasymchuk says, are beyond question violations of the genocide convention; and Russia must be held to account for them. But those are not the only crimes Russian forces have committed against Ukrainian children. Among the others are murder, wounding, and forced deportation.
The Ukrainian government collects all the information it can about these cases and has set up a portal to help families find out about their children. But the Russian authorities have stonewalled all attempts to find out more, and Ukraine needs international help to force Moscow to reveal more of the truth and to bring Russians responsible for genocide to justice.