March 3 2023
SOS Children’s Villages International starts suspension proceedings against its member association in Russia
Following an extraordinary meeting on March 2 to discuss the position of SOS Children’s Villages Russia in the federation, the International Senate, the highest supervisory body of SOS Children’s Villages International, started suspension proceedings. All international funding to SOS Children's Villages Russia has been frozen with immediate effect.
SOS Children's Villages International is deeply concerned by the reports of children being forcibly moved from Ukraine to Russia, which is likely to constitute a violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime.
SOS Children's Villages International reaffirms that there is no indication that SOS Children’s Villages Russia was involved in the alleged forcible removal of children from Ukraine.
Working with local authorities is part of our work in every country where we support children and families. However, SOS Children's Villages International has serious concerns about SOS Children's Villages Russia's cooperation with the state childcare system, while that same state is accused of massively violating children's rights.
SOS Children’s Villages stands for children’s right to protection worldwide. We work in particular to support children at risk of growing up alone. Our obligation is to protect children's and defend their rights – anywhere and anytime.
Recent media reports have shown that the programs of SOS Children’s Villages Russia have been used for political purposes. SOS Children’s Villages International only learned about these activities through media reports. These activities contradict Article 2 of SOS Children’s Villages International Statutes, which states that “the Federation is a non-governmental, non-political and non-denominational organization”.
Using the programs of SOS Children's Villages for political purposes threatens the integrity of our work and our ability to uphold the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.
SOS Children's Villages is against the use of children for political purposes. We have looked into the allegations made in recent media reports, regarding the use of children in propaganda, and can confirm their authenticity.
SOS Children's Villages International has worked for the past several months on getting the facts about the actions of SOS Children’s Villages Russia, even before the recent media reports. In the midst of the ongoing war, it is extremely difficult to verify the facts of the situation, and too many questions remain unanswered.
In addition, it has recently come to our attention that SOS Children's Villages Russia has been awarded state funding to support further children and families from Ukraine, currently in Russia.
It has also been brought to our attention that the Board Chair of SOS Children's Villages Russia is the editor-in-chief of a magazine for children that is used for political propaganda.
SOS Children's Villages Russia is largely financially independent, and international transfers only constitute 6% of their total income. We expect SOS Children's Villages to be able to continue their programs and support the 600 children who have been in their direct care since before the start of the war.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org