Fact Check: 150,000 Ukrainian Refugee Children Did NOT Disappear Without A Trace In Poland


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: 150,000 Ukrainian Refugee Children Did NOT Disappear Without A Trace In Poland Fact Check: 150,000 Ukrainian Refugee Children Did NOT Disappear Without A Trace In Poland Not Missing

Did 150,000 out of 300,000 refugee children from Ukraine disappear in Poland? No, that's not true: the claim is based on a misquote of a report issued by a Polish research center, which did not refer to the disappearance of children, but rather to the fact that 150,000 of the 300,000 refugee children in Poland do not go to school.

The claim appeared in a TikTok video (archived here), published by @schumilino (archived here) on January 15, 2024. The same video (archived here) was shared by @alenbelarusrussia2023 (archived here). The text on the video, translated from Russian into English by Lead Stories staff, reads:

Polish media are sounding the alarm. 150,000 out of 300,000 Ukrainian refugee children disappeared without a trace

The audio, translated from Russian into English by Lead Stories staff, continues:

Polish media are sounding the alarm - 150,000 Ukrainian children out of 300,000 have disappeared without a trace. Understandably, from a bureaucratic point of view, they are not on any register and do not go to school, the authorities have no way to control how their rights are respected and how these children live. Moreover, little Ukrainians can become victims of malicious people. Western publications have written a lot about the hunt for pedophiles and other criminals in Poland.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-01-18 at 10.47.25 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Jan 18 06:04:47 2024 UTC)

The news report was originally broadcast by the Belarus 1 TV channel on January 13, 2024 (archived here) under the title "150,000 Ukrainian refugee children in Poland do not attend schools", which was later shared by the TikTok account without this headline. The Belarusian news presents the Polish daily's report analysis as if the children were lost, adding a hint about the risk of pedophilia involving Ukrainian children in Poland that gives the report a misleading context. The danger of Ukrainian children being subject to abuse and exploitation is under scrutiny by international organizations such as UNICEF and the Council of Europe, but the schooling issue which is the object of the report has nothing to do with it.

On January 10, 2024, Gazeta Wyborcza, a Polish daily newspaper, published an article (archived here) under the title: "We are losing sight of Ukrainian children. Over 150,000 are outside of Polish schools [REPORT]". The article discusses the problem of Ukrainian refugee schoolchildren being educated in Poland, with 150,000 of them theoretically studying online. The Polish daily newspaper refers to a report (archived here) published in January by the Center for Civic Education in Poland entitled "Refugee students from Ukraine in the Polish education system".

The report focuses on the importance of school-age Ukrainian refugee children continuing their education in Polish educational institutions and raises the issue of children missing out on education, learning Polish, and integrating into society.

UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund) and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) encourage (archived here) Ukrainian refugee parents to enroll their children in Polish schools "because learning face-to-face in a safe space with peers and teachers is not only important for their education, but also crucial for their socialization, mental health, and wellbeing".

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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