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Dmytro Lubinets announces Ukraine's withdrawal from the European Ombudsman Institute

08.02.2023, 15:52
Photo: Verkhovna Rada
Photo: Verkhovna Rada

The Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, announced his resignation from the European Ombudsman Institute (EOI) due to the unlawful transfer of two Ukrainian children from Austria to Russia. Lubinets submitted an according letter to the members of the association, according to the Ombudsman's website.

The Commissioner cites media reports which state that the children were taken away by Dr. Josef Siegele, Secretary General of the EOI, member of the EOI Board and Deputy Ombudsman of Tyrol. The Austrian authorities have launched an official investigation into Dr. Siegele's actions.

According to Lubinets, this is a violation of Articles 49 and 50 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which prohibit the forcible transfer or deportation of persons from occupied territory and impose on the occupying state an obligation to take all necessary measures to facilitate the procedure for identifying the children and registering their family ties.

"These facts, namely the forced transfer of children from one group to another, are one of the signs of genocide in accordance with the Article II of the UN Convention of December 9, 1948, on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," Lubinets said.

According to the Commissioner, the European Ombudsman Institute failed to conduct an internal investigation, as he requested, and impose appropriate sanctions on Dr. Siegele, whose actions contradict the purpose of the Institute's establishment and demonstrate his bias. "The President of the Institute, Dr. Dragan Milkov, ignored my requests," the Commissioner noted.

Lubinets believes that such actions are detrimental to Ukraine's national interests at a time when "a bloody full-scale war is ongoing."

The Commissioner appealed to his colleagues who are members of the Institute to consider an immediate withdrawal from the European Ombudsman Institute and to condemn the actions of its management.

According to the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Ombudsman Institute was founded in 1982 by professors of the Innsbruck University, Austria. The Institute's primary fields of work include spreading and promoting the development of the idea of an Ombudsman in Europe, supporting scientific research in this field, promoting experience exchange at a national, European, and international scale.

Most European Ombudsman institutions are members of the Institute. In October 1998, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights was admitted to the European Ombudsman Institute.

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