New Presidential Ombudsman on Children’s Rights appointed
On 30 December 2009 the Russian President signed Decree No. 1518 appointing a 43 year old lawyer as Federal Ombudsman for Children. Pavel Astakhov graduated from the law faculty of the Higher KGB School in 1991 and obtained a Masters at the Law Faculty of Pittsburgh University, USA, in 2002. In 2002 he defended his thesis on “The dynamics of resolution of legal disputes” and became a Candidate of Legal Sciences, and in 2006 he obtained a PhD on a related topic.
At present Mr Astakhov is Chairman of the Chamber of Advocates, and leads several radio and TV programmes on legal affairs. He is a member of the Social Chamber, a professor at the Moscow Ministry of Internal Affairs University and the Russian State Humanitarian University, and has published a number of books on law. His special fields are defence of honour, dignity and business reputation, international commercial disputes, international and constitutional law.
As soon as he assumed his new position, Mr Astakhov made three statements – on the defence of children’s rights as “the most important aspect of state governance”; “the uncontrolled use of pyrotechnic devices”, which he thinks should be treated as a criminal offence in the future and prosecuted as such, and on disputes between spouses from different countries, and the role played in resolving them of family law in states that recognise the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, disputes involving civil, family, parental and children’s rights and freedoms, and bilateral treaties and international conventions. The post of Presidential Ombudsman for Children’s Rights was established in September 2009, and its first incumbent was Alexei Golovan, former Ombudsman for Children’s Rights for Moscow City. According to a new law adopted in August, the City Ombudsman also holds the position of Deputy Ombudsman for Human Rights in the city of Moscow. On 26 December Mr Golovan was relieved of this position by Mr Medvedev's decree.