Commissioner for Children's Rights of the Russian Federation, Maria Lvova-Belova and Cardinal Matteo Zuppi Photo: Fausto Gasparroni

Russia confirms collaboration with Vatican to facilitate reunion of displaced children with their families

This joint effort has also made it possible to clarify and synchronize data on displaced children, halting the search for those currently residing with their parents and relatives in Ukraine or in European Union countries.

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Valentina di Giorgio

(ZENIT News / Rome, 12.16.2023).- In a display of humanitarian cooperation, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights of the Russian Federation, Maria Lvova-Belova, presented a report on the results of collaboration with the Pope’s envoy, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi. This collaboration, spanning the first six months of joint work, aims to facilitate the reunion of displaced children with their families.

During a working meeting held on June 29, an agreement was reached on the exchange of information about children wishing to reunite with their relatives. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi handed over to the commissioner a list prepared by the Ukrainian side, marking the beginning of a collaborative process.

The process involves a detailed examination of each case, including direct interaction with the children’s relatives, the collection and analysis of relevant information, as well as coordination with the competent authorities. So far, several cases have been clarified, identifying children who may need Russia’s assistance to reunite with their loved ones.

One notable case involves three children who arrived in Russia with their mother in 2022 and were placed in a social rehabilitation center due to family difficulties. Information provided by Cardinal Matteo Zuppi has facilitated the swift location of the children and the determination of their current situation.

Additionally, the collaboration has facilitated the reunification process of a teenager named Bogdan Ermokhin, who was found abandoned in Mariupol in 2022. Thanks to the intervention of representatives from the Vatican, his reunion with relatives was successfully coordinated in a gesture of humanitarian solidarity.

This joint effort has also allowed for the clarification and synchronization of data on displaced children, ceasing the search for those who currently reside with their parents and relatives in Ukraine or in European Union countries.

Commissioner Lvova-Belova expressed her gratitude to the Holy See, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, and the Apostolic Nuncio in the Russian Federation, Giovanni d’Aniello, for their valuable collaboration. It is expected that this humanitarian dialogue will continue to benefit children and their families amid challenging situations. Collaboration with the Apostolic Nunciature is maintained regularly, coordinating actions and sharing relevant information in a joint effort for the well-being of the affected minors.


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