Oversight for children’s rights
Public oversight bodies to protect
Public Supervision of the Rights of Orphans and Other Parentless Children
Federal Bill, is currently at first reading stage in the State Duma
(Parliament) of the Russian Federation (RF).
committee of the public chamber of the RF dealing with social policy, labour
relations and quality of life matters, has held hearings on issues relating to
the protection of the rights of parentless children. Those responsible for
working up the bill like Aleksei Golovan, a member of the RF’s presidential
committee for the development of civil society and human rights, Valentin
Gefter, the director of the Human Rights Institute and other specialists have
been talking about the bill’s content. It provides for the establishment of a
means of public oversight aimed at securing the rights of orphans and other
parentless children who live in boarding institutions.
deputy chair of the above public chamber committee, and chair of the regional
organisation, Rights of the Child, Boris Altshuler, has made it clear that
reforming the boarding institutions was one of the aims of the bill, stressing
that public oversight should encourage family placements. He went on to say
that the bill contained provisions reflecting the recommendations of the
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe relating to the rights of
children for whom guardianship agencies are responsible. Some of the provisions
were analogous to those of the Public Oversight of the Human Rights of and
Support for Detainees Federal Act. However, as Mr Gefter said, the bill was
drawn up specifically with the institutions for orphans and parentless children
bodies that will be exercising oversight over the institutions accommodating
parentless children are to be appointed by the council of the public chamber.
There is to be a federal body in addition to the regional ones. As Mr Altshuler
explained, if members of a local body or a local complainant have issues they
will have an independent organisation to which they may turn.
Golovan said not only NGOs but also human rights and children’s rights
ombudsmen would be able to propose candidates for membership of the oversight
well as members of these bodies, trusted educationalists, psychologists and
lawyers and suchlike will be able to visit the residential institutions. Each
regional body will be able to draw up its own list of such professionals.
State finance essential for treatment of
doctors and representatives of NGOs have discussed the problems involved in the
prevention of viral hepatitis at a round table entitled, Living with Hepatitis:
the Right to Obtain Treatment’ held at the premises of the Rossiskaya Gazette
newspaper. It was organised by the inter-regional communal organisation which supports patients with viral
hepatitis called, Together Against Hepatitis.
Boris, chair of the NGO’s board, thinks there is belief prevalent amongst
members of the public that hepatitis is a disease affecting people who lead an
antisocial way of life. In fact it can be contracted when receiving a blood transfusion or at the hairdresser’s.
However, at the moment, treatment for viral hepatitis is not available for the
average Russian. Treatment for hepatitis B costs in the region of $100-700 per
month and for hepatitis C around $1,500. As only 5% of Russians have an income in the region of $2,000 per month,
in all only 4% of the population can cover the cost of treatment for hepatitis
B and only 1.5% the cost of treatment for chronic hepatitis C.
recent years the incidence of hepatitis B has remained practically the same at
15 cases per 100,000 people. It was nearly three times higher in the year
2,000. This noteworthy decrease is related mainly to the introduction of an
effective vaccination programme according to the Federal Service for the Supervision of Human Rights and Welfare
(FSSHRW). FSSHRW states that around 3 million people are infected with chronic
viral hepatitis B.
incidence of hepatitis C is around 40 cases per 100,000 although by no means
all of the cases have been taken into account. FSSHRW states that around 4% of
the population suffer from chronic hepatitis C and need urgent treatment. The
high rate of infection results from the preventive arrangements being so poor.
Examinations for the presence of the hepatitis virus are concentrated on
pregnant women, hospital patients, medical workers, blood donors and so on. To
this date no federal register of hepatitis patients has been compiled so that
official statistics of the distribution of the disease are not available.
head of the infectious diseases department
of the ministry of health of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Nikiforov,
said that since 2011 the ministry has not been allocating resources for
treatment of viral hepatitis which is not included in the list of social
diseases. He declared that it was necessary to restore financing for the
executive co-ordinator of the World Health Organisation(WHO) programmes, Elena
Vovk said that WHO was issuing a programme for the treatment of chronic
infections caused by hepatitis B. The programme has not as yet been approved in
Russia. WHO estimates that 350 million people worldwide are infected with the
hepatitis B virus, 25% of whom die prematurely from cirrhosis of the liver.