POLITICS

UN experts take Russia to task over deported Ukrainian children and a ‘military agenda’ in schools

Feb 8, 2024, 4:31 AM

GENEVA (AP) — A panel of U.N.-backed experts that focuses on children’s human rights called Thursday on Russia to prevent efforts to rewrite school curricula and textbooks to reflect the government’s “political and military agenda,” including over the war in Ukraine.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child held two days of hearings in Geneva last month before presenting its findings on conditions in Russia. The examination was part of a regular review that all U.N. member countries receive.

The 18-member committee of independent experts last examined Russia’s record on children’s rights a decade ago. The panel also urged the Russia government to investigate war crime allegations against President Vladimir Putin’s commissioner for children’s rights.

Russian officials attended the committee’s Jan. 22-23 hearings, and the Russia’s mission in Geneva said Moscow would respond to the report.

In March 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, his children’s rights commissioner, accusing them of abducting children from Ukraine.

The U.N. committee, in its concluding observations, said it was “deeply concerned” about the allegations of Lvova-Belova’s responsibility and urged Russian authorities to “investigate allegations of war crimes perpetrated” by her. It did not mention the allegations against Putin.

The Russian government has faced international condemnation over deportations of Ukrainian families, including children, to Russia following Putin’s order for Russian troops to invade Ukraine in February 2022. It also has come under recent scrutiny over the alleged interference by Putin’s ruling party in schools and policies that put a positive spin on Russia’s war effort.

The Russian delegation headed by Alexey Vovchenko, a deputy minister or labor and social protection, denied during last month’s hearings that any Ukrainians were forcibly removed from their country. He said that 4.8 million residents of Ukraine — including 770,000 children — had been taken in by Russia.

The committee also denounced the alleged “widespread and systematic state propaganda in schools about the war in Ukraine,” including through the issuance of a new history textbook and a new training manual for teaching the government’s positions on the conflict.

The U.N. panel called on authorities to “prevent any attempts to rewrite school curriculum and textbooks to reflect the political and military agenda of the government.”

The committee also expressed concerns about sexual and other violence committed by Russian soldiers against children in Ukraine. The U.N. last year added Russia to a blacklist of countries that violate children’s rights in conflict, citing boys and girls who were killed during attacks on schools and hospitals in Ukraine.

Children’s rights in Bulgaria, Congo, Lithuania, Senegal and South Africa were also considered by the committee during its January hearings.

Politics

FILE - The North Dakota Capitol tower rises in the background behind a stone sign, April 19, 2012, ...

Associated Press

AP Decision Notes: What to expect in North Dakota’s GOP caucuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Dakota will hold its Republican presidential caucuses on Monday, the last chance for Donald Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination to slow his momentum heading into Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the primary campaign, when 15 states hold contests. Trump’s main opponent in North Dakota once again will be Nikki […]

8 minutes ago

FILE - Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo listens during a House Committee on Science, Space, and Tec...

Associated Press

Biden administration to investigate national security risks posed by Chinese-made ‘smart cars’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Citing potential national security risks, the Biden administration says it will investigate Chinese-made “smart cars” that can gather sensitive information about Americans driving them. The probe could lead to new regulations aimed at preventing China from using sophisticated technology in electric cars and other so-called connected vehicles to track drivers and their […]

2 hours ago

FILE - A map of a new proposed community in Solano County, Calif., is displayed during a news confe...

Associated Press

A billionaire-backed campaign for a new California city is off to a bumpy start

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After two false starts, the billionaires behind a plan to build an eco-friendly city from scratch are behind schedule and off to a bumpy start to put their proposal before California voters this November. Former Goldman Sachs trader Jan Sramek unveiled his closely guarded ballot initiative for the proposed community between […]

6 hours ago

FILE - Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar speaks before Gov. Joe Lombardo signs an election wo...

Associated Press

Nevada and other swing states need more poll workers. Can lawyers help fill the gap?

RENO, Nev. (AP) — With Nevada counties struggling to find poll workers in a pivotal election year, the top election official in the Western swing state is taking a page from his counterparts elsewhere and is asking the legal community to help fill the gap. Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar wants lawyers who volunteer at […]

6 hours ago

FILE - This combo image shows President Joe Biden, left, Jan. 5, 2024, and Republican presidential ...

Associated Press

What is Super Tuesday? Why it matters and what to watch

The biggest day of this year’s primary campaign is approaching as 15 states — plus American Samoa — vote in contests known as Super Tuesday. The elections are a crucial moment for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who are the overwhelming front-runners for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations. As the day […]

7 hours ago

FILE - Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a Pentagon press briefing at the Pentagon on Fe...

Associated Press

Defense chief on the defensive: Lawmakers to confront Austin on secret hospital stay

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will face Congress publicly for the first time Thursday to explain his failure to quickly notify the president and other senior leaders about his hospitalization last month for complications from prostate cancer surgery. He is expected to hear some sharp questions and criticism from members of the House […]

7 hours ago

UN experts take Russia to task over deported Ukrainian children and a ‘military agenda’ in schools