Ukraine: IBAHRI Director Baroness Helena Kennedy to co-chair task force on deported children

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, Director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), is announced by Andriy Yermak, Head of the Ukraine President's Office, as Co-Chair of Bring Kids Back UA – a high-level group of experts focused on returning forcefully deported children to Ukraine.

Mr Yermak, who extended the invitation to Baroness Kennedy KC to co-lead the group, said: ‘In my deep conviction, given your talent and experience, your work in this group will be a very big step and gain for Ukraine. We will be able to unite almost the whole world in this work.’ 

The core objective of Bring Kids Back UA is to develop recommendations for an effective mechanism for the return of children deported from Ukraine amidst the ongoing war with Russia. The group also aims to create a new, international legal basis for the protection of children’s rights in armed conflict. 

Baroness Kennedy KC, one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers who has spent her professional life promoting human rights, commented: ‘There is an urgent need to reunite abducted children with their relatives in Ukraine because the more time that passes, the more difficult the task and estranged the children become. Children must be protected, particularly those in conflict situations where they are especially vulnerable. The requirement to establish a mechanism in line with international human rights standards is clear, as is the necessity for collaboration at international level among legal experts, organisations – including the United Nations – and states, which  must better enforce existing UN mechanisms on the protection of children in conflict.’

She added: ‘The children that have been reunited with their families on Ukrainian soil should be able to provide evidence of what happened while they were forcefully deported, which will be very useful. However, there remain many children in that situation in Russia. There is much work to be done and we should not delay. The individuals responsible for the unlawful deportation of these children must be held accountable.’

Article 35 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states: ‘States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form’.


Notes to the Editor 

  1. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), established in 1995 under Founding Honorary President Nelson Mandela, is an autonomous entity working to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  2. Find the IBAHRI on social media here:
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, with the aim of protecting and promoting the rule of law globally, the IBA was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

    The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.

  4. Find the IBA on social media here:

For further information, please contact: the IBA Human Rights Institute at IBAHRI@int-bar.org

Website page link for this news release:
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Full link: www.ibanet.org/Ukraine-IBAHRI-Director-Baroness-Helena-Kennedy-to-co-chair-task-force-on-deported-children