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30 Mar, 2023 16:09

Russian human rights chief issues Ukrainian language appeal

Children should be able to study their native language in Russia, Tatyana Moskalkova has said
Russian human rights chief issues Ukrainian language appeal

Ukrainian-speaking children in Russia should be provided with opportunities to study their native language, Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has said.

In an interview with RIA Novosti published on Thursday, Moskalkova touched on the issue of displaced children and their education, as well as young people from the four former Ukrainian territories – Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – which were incorporated into Russia after referendums last year.

“There were kids who said: ‘We want to be in Russia, but we would like to continue learning the Ukrainian language.’ If it’s their native language, then, of course, why not,” Moskalkova said. 

She stressed that it is important for Russian authorities to provide the necessary conditions “so that a family that has grown up in a certain system can preserve its traditions and its language.”

Moskalkova also discussed allegations that Russia had carried out the “unlawful deportation” of children from Ukraine. The claims prompted the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, earlier this month. 

Moskalkova said she had repeatedly raised the issue with officials in Ukraine, requesting that they provide lists of children deemed to have been “forcibly deported.” However, the human rights commissioner said that she had not received a response, and that discussions with UN representatives had likewise not yielded any evidence to back up the claims.  

“I contacted a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on this issue. According to the charter, they can talk with refugees one-on-one to receive information,” Moskalkova explained. She claimed that the representative “said that he did not meet a single person who would be forcibly kept [by Russia] in temporary accommodation centers or anywhere else.”