"Due to Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine, countless children have tragically lost their lives, sustained injuries, and experienced deep trauma. They have been forcefully uprooted from their homes and separated from their families. Moreover, thousands of Ukrainian children have been forcibly displaced to Russian-controlled regions within Ukraine or deported to Russia, clearly violating international law," stated Riisalo. "To effectively protect these children, it is crucial that we reach an international consensus on the assistance we can offer to both affected families and the children themselves."
According to the Minister of Social Protection, as we assist Ukraine in recovering from the aftermath of the war, our primary focus should be on esablishing a modern and inclusive system to safeguard children's rights. Currently, a substantial number of children are left without parental care, suffering from physical and mental trauma or facing the risk of abuse.
Furthermore, the minister emphasizes the importance of involving local community members, including children and adolescents themselves, in the development of child protection practices. "They represent the new generation responsible for rebuilding Ukraine and leading it towards a brighter future. It is paramount that we not only shape policies for children but also do so in collaboration with them. Our top priority should be to genuinely listen to young people and engage them in decisions that profoundly impact their lives."
Since the brutal war of aggression initiated by Russia, Estonia has received over 29,000 Ukrainian children, nearly a hundred of whom arrived unaccompanied.
"Children without the presence of caring adults are the most vulnerable group. We approach their needs on an individual basis, ensuring they are not separated from their caregivers. However, we do not allow the adoption of these children," added Riisalo.
During the meeting, the Minister of Social Protection will also participate in a panel discussion focusing on child protection. Additionally, a joint declaration on the protection of children's rights in Ukraine will be signed.
For more information about the meeting, please visit the provided link.