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Advocating to establishment of Ombudsman for Children in Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine – November 20, 2008. The Ombudsman for Children from Greece George Moschos and the Controller of the Lithuanian Parliament for Children’s Rights Rimante Salaseviciute visited Ukraine on 3-4 November to support introduction of the Ombudsman for Children institution in Ukraine.

The Ombudspersons met with the Minister of Family, Youth and Sport Yuriy Pavlenko, the First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Oleksandr Shlapak as well as representatives of the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman for Human Rights, State Department for Adoption and Protection of Child Rights, civil society and media to discuss a need and feasibility of establishing the Ombudsman for Children institution in Ukraine.

During the visit George Moschos and Rimante Salaseviciute shared their countries’ experience on the institutional and substantive aspects of Ombudsman for Children’s activities. According to their opinion, the optimal design for such an institution is a Parliamentary Ombudsman for Children that would have both a ‘political’ role (being advocate for children and initiating changes in policy and legislation to improve situation of children) and an ‘advisory’ role to children (processing and acting on individual and collective complaints of children and their representatives).

After analysing situation in Ukraine, the Greek Ombudsman for Children and representative of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children George Moschos stated “The present Department for Children in the structure of Ombudsman for Human Rights can not be considered equivalent and can not replace the professional Ombudsman for Children”. He added “More than that, present setup is not approved by the European Network of the Ombudspersons for Children since it does not meet its standards”.

Rimante Salaseviciute compared the Lithuanian experience to the Ukrainian one and emphasized “The Ombudsman for Children institution establishment was also quite complicated in Lithuania, but now everybody sees its added-value to improving children’s well-being in the country”. And she continued that given current resistance in Ukraine, a temporary alternative to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for Children may also be considered and implemented. The full interview of the Lithuanian Ombudsman for Children to the daily “Den” # 209, 18 November 2008: http://www.day.kiev.ua/257078/

As a result of the visit, it is planned that the Government of the Lithuanian Republic will launch the project with the Government of Ukraine to render support in establishing the functional institution of the Ombudsman for Children in Ukraine.

The Ombudsman for Children from Greece George Moschos and the Controller of the Lithuanian Parliament for Children’s Rights Rimante Salaseviciute visited Ukraine on the invitation of UNICEF Ukraine and Alexander Feldman Foundation.

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For more information: Veronika Vashchenko, Communication Officer, UNICEF Ukraine, Tel: (+380) 44 230 25 14, Email: vvashchenko@unicef.org. Anna Sukhodolska, Communication Assistant, UNICEF Ukraine Tel: (+380) 44 230 25 14, Email: asukhodolska@unicef.org

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