The Lanzarote Committee’s Statement on Protecting Ukrainian Children from Sexual Abuse

The Lanzarote Committee’s Statement on Protecting Ukrainian Children from Sexual Abuse
Photo by Shahrzad9 on Flickr


Manon Picard

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence.

The Lanzarote Committee, which monitors the Council of Europe’s Member States’ compliance with children’s rights, has published a statement on “protecting children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse” following the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine. The Committee addressed the increasing number of persons fleeing Ukraine which has resulted in the “urgent need of safe passages”. Moreover, the Lanzarote Committee affirmed that: 

“the safety and protection of all children should be a priority and that children in vulnerable situations such as unaccompanied and missing children are at a higher risk of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse”. 

Additionally, the Committee took the opportunity to reiterate that all 46 Member States of the Council of Europe as well as Tunisia and the Russian Federation, are legally bound by the Lanzarote Convention. In this situation, the Member States are under an obligation to “take measures to address the specific risk of exposure to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of migrant and refugee children” and to “uphold the rights and best interests of the child at all times”. Member States also need to cooperate with other relevant stakeholders in Europe to prevent exposure to sexual abuse and exploitation as well as provide appropriate support to those victims. 

The Lanzarote Committee’s statement comes at a crucial time as the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine is still ongoing and the number of children fleeing their countries are exposed to risks of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. 

Sources and further reading:

Council of Europe. (2022, March 25). Urgent Need to Protect Ukrainian Children in Migration from Sexual Abuse. Newsroom – Council of Europe. Retrieved March 28, 2022, from

Lanzarote Committee. (2022, March 10). Statement on Protecting Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse Resulting from the Military Aggression of the Russian Federation Against Ukraine.