The EU has called for unimpeded access by UN entities, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and civil society to all areas where Ukrainian civilians are being detained by Russia.
EU High Representative Josep Borrell said the EU was concerned by allegations of forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians to territories controlled by the Russian military or to the Russian Federation itself. Borrell’s speech was delivered to the European Parliament by Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform Elisa Ferreira.
According to Borrell, the UN Human Rights Office’s credible allegations of forced transfers of unaccompanied minors are of particular concern.
“We demand that all persons reported disappeared or missing in Ukraine must be searched for, located, and released or returned. We also demand that any checks and filtrations, and any detention that may follow such checks, take place in a legal framework respecting the principles of necessity and proportionality,” said Borrell.
He also recalled that the forcible transfer of civilians is prohibited by international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions.
Borrell added that women and children are the most vulnerable persons in this context: “They face risks which include sexual exploitation, trafficking, sexual violence, far from public eye. It is our common duty to focus on accountability and on widespread condemnation.”
Find out more
Interested in the latest news and opportunities?
This website is managed by the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood ('EU NEIGHBOURS east’), which complements and supports the communication of the Delegations of the European Union in the Eastern partner countries, and works under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European External Action Service. EU NEIGHBOURS east is implemented by a B&S Europe-led consortium. It is part of the larger Neighbourhood Communication Programme (2020-2024) for the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, which also includes 'EU NEIGHBOURS south’ project that runs the EU Neighbours portal.