Toggle navigation menu.

Eyewitness Accounts: Ukrainian Children and Adult Civilians Abducted by Russia

Longworth House Office Building 1334 Washington, DC 20515 United States

Members

Representative Joe Wilson

Chairman

Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe

Representative Steve Cohen

Ranking Member

Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe

Representative Marc Veasey

Commissioner

Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Commissioner

Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe

Representative Victoria Spartz

Commissioner

Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe

Witnesses

Ambassador Oksana Markarova

Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States

The Honorable Pia Kauma

President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

Andriy Kostin

Prosecutor General of Ukraine

Dmytro Lubinets

Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights

Mykola Kuleba

Director of Save Ukraine and former Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights

Rostislav, Denys, and Ksenia

Ukrainian young adults who were forcibly removed from Ukraine as minors and rescued from Russia or Russian-controlled areas

 

Russia’s abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children and adult civilians as part of its war on Ukraine calls for urgent U.S. and international action to both save Ukraine’s children and civilians and to hold Russia accountable for its war crimes.

The Ukrainian government has documented close to 20,000 cases of children taken to Russia or Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine for forced russification and assimilation, a war crime under the Geneva Convention that could amount to genocide. In response, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Russian President Putin and Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova. The Ukrainian government also estimates that up to 10,000 adult civilians may have been detained or used by the Russian military for forced labor, in contravention of international law. Media reports that many of these innocent civilians may have been tortured and later spuriously charged with transgressions as minor as speaking Ukrainian, as well as that the Russian government is planning to build numerous new detention centers in areas of Ukraine it currently illegally occupies.

This hearing will hear directly from children who were rescued from Russian custody as well as testimony from top Ukrainian officials and non-governmental organizations working on the ground to locate and return Ukrainian children and adult civilians. It will also discuss what the United States and the international community can do to support Ukraine, including a new bill to address these challenges, Oleksander’s Act, which is dedicated to the Ukrainian children who have suffered during Russia’s war of aggression.

All hearings are open to the public. 

Category
Country
Issue
Date
Filter Topics Open Close
Briefings

The Proliferation of Russian-Style Foreign Agents Laws

Jun 20, 2024

In 2012, Russia adopted a foreign agents law which has been used repeatedly to crack down on independent civil society and opposition, closing organizations and jailing dissenters. Over the past several years, there has been a proliferation of Russian-style foreign agents laws in other countries which, while justified as providing transparency for foreign funding and […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

HEARING – Silenced Dissent: The Plight of Poli...

Jun 13, 2024

Rayburn 2212 Stream live here WASHINGTON—Across the globe, individuals continue to be targeted, arrested, and imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and association. Persecution on political grounds represents a fundamental violation of human rights and democratic principles. Autocrats and dictators’ unjust detention of political prisoners undermines the rule of law, […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

Silenced Dissent: The Plight of Political Prisoners ...

Jun 13, 2024

WASHINGTON—Across the globe, individuals continue to be targeted, arrested, and imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of speech, assembly, and association. Persecution on political grounds represents a fundamental violation of human rights and democratic principles. Autocrats and dictators’ unjust detention of political prisoners undermines the rule of law, stifles free expression, and erodes […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

BRIEFING – The Proliferation of Russian-Style ...

Jun 13, 2024

Thursday, June 20, 2024 2:00 p.m. Cannon House Office Building Room 210 WASHINGTON—In 2012, Russia adopted a foreign agents law which has been used repeatedly to crack down on independent civil society and opposition, closing organizations and jailing dissenters. Over the past several years, there has been a proliferation of Russian-style foreign agents laws in […]

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Helsinki Commission House Leadership Marks Fourth An...

Jun 06, 2024

WASHINGTON—Today, Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Ranking Member Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) marked the fourth annual Counter-Kleptocracy Month. The U.S. Helsinki Commission has marked Counter-Kleptocracy month since June 2021 when the Commission helped to launch the Congressional Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy (Counter-Kleptocracy Caucus). The Caucus is also chaired by Reps. Wilson and […]

screen-reader-text
Hearings

Supporting Georgia’s Sovereignty and Democracy

Jun 04, 2024

WASHINGTON—The recent adoption of a Russian-style foreign agent law heralds an openly anti-western turn by the ruling Georgian Dream government, and their concomitant alignment with Russia as well as other authoritarian powers such as China. After three decades of a pro-west, democratizing, and Euro-Atlantic-facing strategic agenda, Georgia’s government is clearly and violently breaking faith with […]

screen-reader-text
Briefings

Russian Crimes Against Ukrainian Civilians: Findings...

May 30, 2024

Russia has targeted Ukrainian civilians since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.  Civilians have been arbitrarily detained, transferred, mistreated, tortured, and even killed extrajudicially as an apparent part of Putin’s war strategy.  Thousands have disappeared or are being held without being able to communicate with their families. In February, 45 OSCE states invoked […]

screen-reader-text
Briefings

Ukrainian Culture in Wartime

May 29, 2024

Russia has damaged or destroyed countless Ukrainian museums, libraries, cultural centers, theaters, schools, and sites of religious and historical significance. These physical attacks are accompanied by the Kremlin’s public denigration and even denial of a distinct Ukrainian national identity. This combination of physical destruction and insidious propaganda has by design posed an existential threat to […]

screen-reader-text
In the News

“MEGOBARI Act” Envisages Sanctions for Undermining, ...

May 27, 2024

screen-reader-text
Press Releases

Wilson, Cohen, Hudson, Veasey Introduce MEGOBARI Act

May 24, 2024

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, U.S. Helsinki Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02), Ranking Member Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Commissioner Rep. Richard Hudson (NC-09), and Commissioner Rep. Marc Veasey (TX-33) introduced the bipartisan Mobilizing and Enhancing Georgia’s Options for Building Accountability, Resilience, and Independence (MEGOBARI) Act. This vital legislation aims to bolster democratic practices, human rights, and the rule of […]

screen-reader-text
Statements

Helsinki Commission House Leadership Statement on 80...

May 24, 2024

  Today, Helsinki Commission Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Ranking Member Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) made the following statement: “We unequivocally condemn the brutal deportation of Crimean Tatars orchestrated by the Soviet regime in 1944. This horrific act, which forcibly uprooted an entire population from their homeland, represents a grave violation of human rights, […]

screen-reader-text
In the News

Rep. Joe Wilson introduces bill to sanction individu...

May 23, 2024

screen-reader-text