|Alexei Golovan, newly appointed Child Rights Ombudsperson under the President of Russia.|
MOSCOW, Russia, 23 October 2009 – Alexei I. Golovan has been appointed to the newly created post of Child Rights Ombudsperson at the national level in Russia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in a gift to all Russian children, made the decree on 1 September 2009, also known as the ’Day of Knowledge’ in Russia, the day when the school year traditionally starts.
UNICEF wholeheartedly welcomes the decision of the Federal government to review a draft law confirming the mandate of a Child Rights Ombudsperson (established by the Presidential order last September).
The creation of the position of a Child Rights Ombudsperson on the federal level is an important element in fulfilling the obligations to protect child rights assumed by the Russian Government under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is highly symbolic that it is happening on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention.
With this decision, Russia has joined a group of leading countries with ombudspersons functioning at the national level and has also set a good example for other countries to follow.
Better protection for child rights
“The appointment of the Child Rights Ombudsperson is a significant and timely step,” said Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative in the Russian Federation. “International experience shows that the child rights ombudspersons institution ensures increased attention to the protection of child rights at the highest political level, with more effective resolution of critical issues.
“We can see that in those countries where national child rights ombudsperson institutions are in place, children’s rights are better protected, their interests are taken into account in decision making, and child-related policies are supported by appropriate financing. It is essential that the Ombudsperson for Child Rights be guaranteed full independence.”
Child Rights Ombudspersons in Russia are UNICEF’s long-standing partners. In 2005, the Association of Child Rights Ombudspersons was set up, with UNICEF’s support, in 24 Russian regions (at regional and municipal levels).
Setting a global example
The ombudspersons work in cooperation with local and federal authorities, carry out independent assessment and monitoring of child rights and represent children’s interests in court. They contribute to the development and advancement of appropriate policy and legislation.
The Russian Association of Child Rights Ombudspersons is recommended internationally by UNICEF as a good example. The establishment of the federal post of the Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights should further strengthen the activities carried out by the Russian Association.
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