Russia has not implemented the recommendations contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the C
That is what the presidential ombudsman for children’s rights, Alex Golovan, stated at a press conference on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention on Children’s Rights.
Mr Golovan said that every five years the UN Committee offers observations, suggestions and recommendations to participating states. In his opinion Russia does not consider many of these or drags its feet on implementation. An instance is the failure to adopt a national plan of action, which the committee recommended as long ago as 2005. The ombudsman expressed the hope that a plan would come into existence by mid 2010. He also said that there was no co-ordinating committee responsible for implementation of the Convention.
He added that Russia was the only former member of the Soviet Union that had not signed up to two optional ancillary agreements relating to the involvement of children in armed conflicts and child trafficking. The departments of state responsible for the signing and further ratification of these agreements have maintained that first of all it is necessary to bring Russian domestic legislation into line with international legal requirements.
Mr Golovan went on to say:
‘Everywhere else they do things the other way round. The international document is first signed by way of adopting an aim in principle and then the domestic legislation is adapted, machinery for implementation organised and finance allocated. Russia has no plan for bringing existing legislation into line and the ancillary agreements have not been ratified.’
He had met with the minister for foreign affairs and the prosecutor general of the Russian Federation, who understood the issues involved.
Mr Golovan mentioned that his service in co-operation with the Fund for the Support of Children in a Difficult Life Situation was in the process of setting up a confidential telephone line for the use of children in every region of the federation. Any child will be able to telephone using a simple number and report an act of violence. Specialist personnel would give them psychological help or call in other services. The number would be the same nationwide, though the details had not all been settled yet. The ombudsman took the view that those championing children’s rights should seek the views of the children themselves. With that aim in mind, youth parliaments had been created in some areas as well as youth councils in educational institutions. In addition, the institution of an ombudsman for the rights of schoolchildren was being introduced.
Children had been invited to the press conference. One, a resident at a Moscow children’s home, who is concerned with observance of children’s rights in the region’s homes, said that orphans there were in need of material and psychological help. On leaving a home former inhabitants received neither an apartment nor sufficient money to live on. A member of the children’s parliament of Izhevsk drew attention to the way in which the rights of children with disabilities were violated, saying that they were obliged to stay at home and had little opportunity to socialise with others in their age group. A student at the Moscow State Institute for Land Improvement and Irrigation spoke about positive developments in the legal system. In her opinion, the Young G8* in which she had had the opportunity to take part was the best illustration of how children’s rights are being promoted in practice.
* Russia, Japan, USA, Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Canada were represented at this event, which took place on Hokkaido Island (Japan) last June (Translator’s Note).