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BRICS Summit in South Africa

August 22, 2023 | 0 Comments

Media Statement

on the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day on 24 August 2023

18 months of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine

BRICS Summit in South Africa

24 August 1991, Ukraine regained its Independence. That year 90,4 % of the population voted for Ukraine to be a sovereign country and to have the right to determine its future. Ukrainian territorial integrity is internationally recognised and should be respected. 

Inspired to be democratic and free country, in 1994 Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons arsenal and joined non-proliferation treaty. But International law was unable to defend Ukrainians from Russian invasion in 2014. It was also unable to prevent Russian full-scale war against Ukraine that started in 2022. Today, Ukraine, the country that gave up nuclear weapon is standing against the invasion of the country without nuclear weapon. Russian war is imperial and aims to destroy Ukrainian identity and to keep Ukraine as a colony.

For the BRICS summit Russian president who is facing warrant of arrest is not coming, however, South African government has not yet openly condemn the war crimes that Russia is committing since 2014. 

20 August the President Cyril Ramaphosa has stated: 

The key pillars of our foreign policy include the promotion of human rights, peace and stability and the strengthening of trade and investment ties with other countries.

It is not possible to promote human rights, peace and stability, without condemning the war crimes, military aggression and nuclear-threating rhetoric. 

We call on the President Ramaphosa to follow the pillars of the foreign policy described and to clearly condemn Russian war against Ukraine, the violation of the Ukrainian territorial integrity and systemic violation of basic human rights to life and liberty, forceful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia that Russian president is personally responsible for. 

The Russian military aggression is also a cause of violation of human rights on the African continent. The rising global hunger, increased prices for fuel are directly linked to the Russian war against Ukraine

We are calling on world leaders attending the BRICS summit to:

  • demand that Russian authorities stop the military aggression against Ukraine and immediately remove their military forces from the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine; 
  • demand Russia to return to the Black Sea Grain initiative, to stop bombing of the Ukrainian agricultural infrastructure and ports, so that the famine is prevented;
  • call on the Russian authorities to immediately stop forceful deportation of Ukrainian children:
  • Provide the full list and whereabouts of Ukrainian children deported to Russia;
  • Demand that children should not be forcefully separated from their parents and caregivers; 
  • Request to change the law that fast-tracks Russian citizenship for Ukrainian children;
  • call on Russia to denounce the changes in the constitution that legalise the landgrab of Ukrainian territory by the Russian military forces.
  • call on the Russian authorities to stop violating people’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in their own countries.

UAZA supports civil society marches during the BRICS summit in different cities of South Africa:

August 22, in Johannesburg organised by UAZA, Amnesty International and Helen Suzman Foundation

August 23 – in Johannesburg organised by the BRICS from Below and United Front Alliance

August 23 – In Durban organised by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance 

#StandWithUkraine #StopRussianAggression

For more information: +27 767355501 Kateryna (Durban) or +27 76 236 58 24 Anastasia Korpeso [email protected]; www.uaza.co.za


Forceful deportation of Ukrainian children

The Russian Federation has actively and intentionally deported more than dozen thousands of children from Ukraine to Russia. Ukraine has identified and provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the names of 19,358 deported children. Of these only about 13,000 have been located and as of May 2023, only 371 were released to return to their families and caregivers in Ukraine.

On 30 May 2022, Putin signed a decree that streamlines the process of adopting Ukrainian orphans or those without identified parental care and giving them Russian citizenship. Deported children do not have the right to refuse Russian citizenship. Instead, Russian authorities can issue Russian citizenship in under 24 hours, and during this process can change a child’s name, surname and personal data such as date and place of birth. As a result, relatives have no way of finding and returning their children. All this information does not require journalists’ investigations as it is officially stated by Russian legislation, and in Putin’s official statements.

Russia has seized children from their schools, and their homes – including those living in institutions, while others have been separated from their families during Russia’s so-called ‘filtration’ process. The UN Commission of Inquiry concluded that none of the cases examined were justified by safety or medical reasons, nor did they satisfy the requirements set forth by international humanitarian law. Moreover, Russia puts in place to prevent Ukrainian children from reuniting with their families and caregivers. Direct relatives or legal guardians must undertake a dangerous and costly journey to collect their children. During this journey, they face a high risk of arrest and interrogation – as do those who help them. In some cases, parents arrive in Russia only to learn authorities have hidden their child in a foster home.

The deportation, abduction, and separation of children from their parents and families is the basis for an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin by the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is also a crime under customary international law, by which Ukraine, Russia and South Africa are bound.

Separation of children from parents

In the occupied territories, Russian military forces prosecute civilians for any expression of Ukrainian identity. The process to detect this involves interrogation, collection of personal data including mobile apps and social media posts, and forcing civilians to testify or make statements against Ukraine. This is known as a “filtration process” and might also involve forced nudity, torture, ill-treatment and forced disappearance. If any of the parents fails the “filtration process”, children are separated from their families in blatant disregard of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Abduction of children’s identity and adoption into Russian families

While in Russian custody [Ukrainian children are] exposed to a pro-Russian information campaign often amounting to targeted re-education as well as being involved in military education.

The forced transfer of children of one group to another for “Russification” through adoption by Russian families and/or transfer to Russian-run orphanages or residential facilities such as “summer camps”, is a violation under Article II of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, (the Genocide Convention), to which both Ukraine and Russia are parties.

About the Ukrainian Association of South Africa 

Ukrainian Association of South Africa (NPO 189-705) is a collaborative association registered in May 2017 that promotes networks between Ukrainians and South Africans for mutual development, increased awareness and inner growth of individuals and societies. For more information www.uaza.co.za or [email protected]