Ukrainian children abroad are not refugees

Опубліковано 8 January 2024 року, о 11:30

Vice Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk chaired a meeting of the Coordination Headquarters for the Protection of Children’s Rights under Martial Law. During the meeting, emphasis was placed on the importance of protecting children’s rights.

The participants discussed protecting the rights of Ukrainian children living in Europe, including Italy.

They discussed cases where children with status who have traveled abroad for security reasons are mistakenly subjected to local law. This can lead to consequences that are contrary to the interests of the child as a citizen of Ukraine. For instance, placing a child with a foreign family goes against Ukrainian law.

Temporary asylum seekers from Ukraine are covered by Article 6 of the 1996 Convention on Jurisdiction, Law, Cooperation, and Responsibility in respect of Child Protection.

Children who have been displaced to another country due to social unrest in their home country are granted refugee status according to the law.

The alleged source of the threat to them is Ukraine. However, in reality, russian armed aggression has caused Ukrainian children to leave and continue to leave for other countries. Their goal is to return as soon as the security situation allows.

Therefore, Ukrainian jurisdiction should apply to them. Ukrainian judicial or administrative authorities should have the right to take measures to protect the person or property of these children.

The Vice Prime Minister emphasized the importance of clearly conveying Ukraine’s position on the international stage that Ukrainian children are not refugees. “Our task is to protect the rights of Ukrainian children, and we will do everything possible to do so.”