The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict (CAAC), Ms. Virginia Gamba, completed a 2-day mission to the Russian Federation during which she engaged with the Government to discuss the impact of the conflict on children including how to enhance the protection of children in Ukraine and prevent grave violations.

The visit follows the Secretary-General’s request to the Special Representative to engage with all parties to the conflict to urgently address child protection issues, including the prevention of violations against children (A/76/871-S/2022/493). She previously visited Ukraine with the same objective.

During her visit, the Special Representative met with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister of Defense and with the Presidential Commissioner on Children’s Rights, who are part of an existing Government Committee on Child Protection which includes other Government entities including the Office of the Russian Prosecutor General. She also met with the United Nations representatives in Moscow.

The Special Representative held constructive discussions and advocated for the development of a Plan to prevent grave violations against children, including measures for the handover and release of children affected by conflict, military command orders, training on the prevention of grave violations against children and the correct procedures to be followed for the urgent tracing and reunification of children displaced, transferred and or deported during the conflict, including through the establishment of a functioning mechanism of tracing family links and prioritizing family reunification according to the rights and best interests of children. The Russian Federation agreed to develop such a joint prevention plan to prevent grave violations against children.

The Special Representative further discussed other situations of concern for the children and armed conflict mandate, including continuing discussion on the repatriation of children in situations of conflict, ensuring the best interest of the child. The Russian Federation agreed to discuss urgent measures to ensure the rights of children and to prioritize their release and reunification in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. She is grateful for the support to her mission by the United Nations office in Moscow.

“Children remain the main victims of the war in Ukraine, which is having a devastating impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. Ukrainian children are disproportionately affected by hostilities and are enduring violations of their rights. We need to urgently protect these children now, create the conditions to ensure their protection and welfare and restore their rights,” said Virginia Gamba.