1 June 2023
an open letter
by Boris Altshuler
To Mirjana Spoljaric Egger
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Dear ICRC President Mirjana Slovjaric!
The Moscow based Right of the Child [ROC] NGO has worked in Russia for 25 years, in particular ROC was an umbrella organization for coalitions of Russian NGOs which submitted four Alternative Reports (in 1998, 2005. 2013, 2022) to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
We feel our responsibility for the observance of the rights of every child on the territory of the Russian Federation, and today, on International Children’s Day, we appeal to you with a request concerning the observance of the rights of several thousand unaccompanied Ukrainian children displaced to Russia from the battlefields of the current awful military conflict.
The battlefield is a dangerous place for a child. Also, in a situation of battle, the mutual loss of children and parents is possible. According to internationally recognized principles, as well as Russian law, the best interests of a child left without parental care require: (1) to make every effort to find the parents or other close relatives of the child; (2) if it proved to be impossible to provide the child with alternative family care; (3) if this is impossible the placement of a child in an institution is left as the least favourable option.
Thus, we ask you to address the leadership of the Russian Federation to conclude an Agreement with the ICRC providing that full personal information about every unaccompanied child displaced to Russia be submitted by Russian authorities to the ICRC, so that the relatives of Ukrainian children could address ICRC in attempt to find their lost child. This Agreement must also include the possibility of personal meetings of the ICRC representatives with the unaccompanied children.
We do not consider our proposal unrealistic since the above cited Agreement is a good chance for Russia to demonstrate its commitment to the internationally recognized principles in the field of the protection of children’s rights.
Chair of The Right of the Child [ROC], Moscow, Russia.
Member of the Moscow Helsinki Group.
Contact: email@example.com +7-985-477-93-87
“The Right of the Child” NGO is a Member of the Moscow Human Rights House and a Member of the Child Rights Connect (Geneva).
Right of the Child website: http://right-child.ru/about.html