Statement on the Report by the Rapporteurs under the Moscow Mechanism on the Forcible Transfer and/or Deportation of Ukrainian Children

Delivered by Ambassador Anne- Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 4 May 2023

Mr. Chair,

As it is the first time I take the floor today, let me extend my deepest condolences to the people of Serbia. We were deeply shocked to learn about the horrible shooting at Vladislav Ribkinar School yesterday. Our thoughts go to the bereaved, and to the many people wounded, or affected in other ways.

Dear colleagues,

Norway endorses the statement made by Finland but let me add a few remarks in my national capacity.

I join colleagues in thanking the three experts, Professor Bilkova, Dr. Hellestveit and Dr. Steinerte for their work with the report presented to us today, impressively thorough considering the limited time the Moscow Mechanism provides for such a task.

In the 14 months that have now passed since the beginning of the full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine, we have made sure that this war, and all its consequences, continues to be at the top of our agenda. We continue to document and investigate how the war is in breach of international law and OSCE commitments and how accountability for the victims can be secured. All this to at least mitigate the consequences of the war for millions of Ukrainians.

The Moscow Mechanism has proven useful to this end. Today’s report has given us substantial input on how the deportation and transport of Ukrainian children to Russia or between Russian occupied territories in Ukraine are in breach of numerous articles and commitments. It will be a valuable contribution to our work in the OSCE, the work going on in other international organizations and within Ukraine.

More than anything, we urge our colleagues from the Russian Federation to read the report put forward today thoroughly and to convey its recommendations back to Moscow. I will not repeat the details, but we urge you to make sure that Ukrainian children are treated in full respect of all relevant conventions and commitments and are allowed to return home and be reunited with their loved ones. Of course, a good start would be for Russia to end this war.

Mr. Chair,

Norway will continue to have the situation for children during armed conflicts at the top of our agenda. This is an area highly relevant for the OSCE, across all three dimensions of security.

Thank you