Ukraine – Save the Children NGO calls for full investigation into crimes against children

File – March 12, 2022, Levandivka, Ukraine: Ukrainian families seen boarding a train bound for Poland after being checked by Ukrainian soldiers. – Alex Chan Tsz Yuk / Zuma Press / ContactoPhoto

The NGO Save the Children has demanded a »full and separate investigation» into crimes committed against children in the Ukrainian war following the results of a UN Commission of Inquiry study that this week uncovered numerous violations of children’s rights, from executions to sexual abuse to forced deportations.

Save the Children is alarmed to hear that many children have been deported and forcibly transferred, and that many have lost contact with their families and loved ones,» says Sonia Khush, Save the Children’s Ukraine country director.

The NGO recalls that more than 21,000 people have been killed or injured since February 24, 2022, including nearly 1,500 minors killed or injured, although the UN believes the actual numbers are much higher. The armed conflict has forced more than five million people in Ukraine to flee their homes, and nearly 19 million people in the country are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.

Save the Children recalls that the report describes many grave violations against children, including the summary execution of a 14-year-old boy, cases of sexual and gender-based violence on children as young as 4 years old, and a case of illegal confinement in which detainees, including children, were kept in a school basement next to corpses of elderly people who died in confinement.

»The UN Commission of Inquiry has highlighted to an impressive degree the problems we have been struggling with, including the discrepancy in numbers and the overly politicized response to the situation in Ukraine,» Khush said.

»We still need a separate investigation to look at the whole spectrum of violations of children’s rights,» the humanitarian official said.

Save the Children thus urges the international community to adopt a holistic approach to accountability, including judicial law, but also the right of victims to truth, reparation and non-repetition, and calls for a comprehensive investigation that focuses on grave and other violations of children’s rights.


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