The Council of Europe Consultation Group on the Children of Ukraine (CGU) held its first meeting in Strasbourg on 30 November - 1 December 2023, bringing together over 85 participants (in person and online) to discuss ways to effectively protect the rights of millions of Ukrainian children residing in Council of Europe member states, who have been forced to flee their homeland since the start of Russia’s war of aggression.
The CGU was set up to ensure practical implementation of the 2023 Reykjavík Declaration, to facilitate dialogue and the exchange of information, in a multilateral setting, on applicable legal standards and policies regarding Ukrainian children residing in Council of Europe member states. The CGU’s focus will be on developing a common understanding of some of the most important legal and policy issues member states are dealing with as a result of the arrival of Ukrainian children on their territories.
Composed of national experts responsible for decision making and co-ordination of issues related to children of Ukraine appointed by member states, along with focal points from the European Union, other key international organisations, and European and Ukrainian NGOs, the Group will identify promising practices and develop guidance for states and other actors in the field to address some of the concerns by states in upholding the rights of the children of Ukraine.
The first meeting was dedicated to the reception, registration and care of unaccompanied and separated children in member states, including those from alternative care facilities. The discussions focused on issues of jurisdiction and admissible law, guardianship, as well as the psychological support and trauma-informed care provided to children affected by war, and/or victims of war. The Group also discussed a Roadmap that will guide its work until the end of its mandate on 31 July 2025.