AFT Resolution

War Crimes: Ukrainian Children ‘Transferred’ to Russia

WHEREAS, on March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, finding him culpable of illegally transferring and deporting children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation and Russian occupied territories, and President Biden joined with the other members of the G7 in strongly condemning this unlawful deportation and transfer of children, and called for their immediate return; and

WHEREAS, the transfer and deportation of children are violations of human rights and international law, including the Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article II of the Genocide Convention, and devastated mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings continue searching for their family members in desperation; and

WHEREAS, details about these transfers came to light through the findings of Human Rights Watch, which has extensively documented how Russian officials and their proxies used coercive measures to forcibly transfer Ukrainian children, and it is clear that the transfer of thousands of Ukrainian children from their families, forcibly relocating them to reeducation camps and leaving them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation is unconscionable; and

WHEREAS, AFT President Randi Weingarten and Vice President Dan Montgomery, along with representatives of Education International, traveled to Kyiv in May 2023 and met children who had been rescued and returned to Ukraine from Russian occupation under the auspices of Save Ukraine, a civil society organization dedicated to caring for and reuniting these separated children with their families; and

WHEREAS, rescuing traumatized children and reuniting them with their families is an uncertain and arduous process, with Russia erecting administrative, legal and financial obstacles at every step:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers supports the efforts of Human Rights Watch to document for evidentiary purposes in the International Criminal Court the firsthand testimonies of Ukrainians who have knowledge of the abduction of children, and the AFT will work with HRW and our partner teachers union in Ukraine, TUESWU (the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine), to assist with this undertaking; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will partner with Save Ukraine to increase attention to the impact of this war on children today and for years to come, and, in partnership with the Ukraine Children’s Action Project, will broadly disseminate in Ukraine a toolkit for teachers to guide them in addressing the social and emotional needs of children traumatized by this war; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will call on the Biden administration and Congress to prioritize care and education for children in U.S. foreign assistance for the post-conflict recovery and transformation of Ukraine; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to encourage other U.S. labor unions and the AFL-CIO to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine as appropriate, and will encourage and support AFT state federations and locals and affiliates to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine in defense of children and families; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue using social media and other available outlets to give voice to the stories of these children, and, working with Education International, will present the stories of these children to Education International’s 2024 World Congress.


Adopted July 19, 2023