A three-MP Estonian delegation is in Strasbourg this week for the Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), where one of the main issues on the agenda is the situation of Ukrainian children, including their deportation to Russia.
MP Liisa Pakosta (Eesti 200), head of the Estonian delegation to PACE, defined the focus of their participation this week as striving to convince MPs from other European countries to join forces against Russia's cruelty and the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children, according to a press release.
"PACE's core values are human rights, democracy and strengthening the rule of law, and we need to act to keep it this way," Pakosta said.
The Riigikogu is in the process of drawing up a statement clearly detailing the violation of international law and condemning Russia's activities, which have a tragic effect on innocent children, the Estonian parliament said.
"Not only do we have to condemn the deportation of children, we also must emphasize Russia's culpability for crimes against humanity," Pakosta continued, likewise stressing the importance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in prosecuting war criminals.
The Estonian MP also expressed support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's ten-point peace plan, which includes the return of the deported children from Russia.
"As European citizens, we have the moral duty to demonstrate that we are not okay with Russia's cruelty against defenseless children in any way or form," she emphasized.
Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska will also take part in the discussion.
This week, the PACE Assembly will also be electing a new president as the term of current President Tiny Kox draws to a close, as well as a new Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, among other issues on the agenda.
The Estonian delegation – consisting of Pakosta, MP Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform) and alternate MP Reili Rand (SDE) – will also take the opportunity to show its support for the candidacy of long-term Estonian PACE delegation member Indrek Saar for the position of secretary general of the Council of Europe at the elections to be held this June.
The 2024 PACE Winter Session is taking place in Strasbourg from this Monday through Friday.
Editor: Aili Vahtla