No ‘hidden agenda’ behind UNICEF’s closure
UNICEF is to end its operations in Russia by the end of the year.
According to Olga Kostina, head of the Inter-commission Working Party on
Children’s Issues and Family Policy, member of the Public Chamber of the
Russian Federation (RF) and chair of the board of the civil rights movement,
Opposition, it was part of UNICEF’s initial arrangements with the ministry of
the interior that its work in Russia would be time limited.
Ms Kostina hopes that UNICEF will be able to continue working in Russia.
According to the charity’s website, talks are going on between it and the
Russian government about revising their partnership arrangements in connection
with completing current programmes and the closure of the local office.
sources do not think there is a ‘hidden agenda’. Ms Kostina explained that
while UNICEF has been working in Russia, it has ‘not interfered with national
policy in relation to children’s affairs’. Its work has been exclusively
advisory or consultative in nature. In particular, it made available
translations of legislation adopted by other countries, which were used when
the bill increasing the severity of the penalties for crimes of a sexual nature
committed against minors was being drafted. She also takes the view that its
help was valuable when the Co-ordinating Council for the Implementation of a
National Children’s Strategy for 2012 to 2017 began its work. The charity is
also in a position to help to expedite the process of bringing Russian legislation
on child welfare into conformity with international standards.
executive director of the charity Sharing in Fate, Aleksei Golovan, added that
UNICEF was due to have completed its work in 2011. However, an extension of
time was granted by arrangement with the ministry of the interior to allow
completion of current programmes. He said that the decision affected not just
UNICEF but all the UN’s humanitarian programmes in Russia.
Golovan does not believe that Russia will be able to resolve the problems in
the area of protecting children’s rights, HIV and so forth without UNICEF’s
support. In addition, the Russian branch of the charity has relayed Russia’s
experience in the area of child welfare to other states, above all to the former