UNICEF welcomes creation of the position of the Child Rights Ombudsperson under the President of the Russian Federation
On September 1, the Day of Knowledge in Russia, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave a wonderful gift to all Russian children – for the first time ever, the post of the Child Rights Ombudsperson has been set up at the national level. On that day, Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree pursuant to which Alexey I. Golovan was appointed to the post of the Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights under the President of the Russian Federation. Until very recently, Alexey Golovan had been serving in the capacity of the Moscow City Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights.
UNICEF welcomes wholeheartedly the decision made by the head of the Russian state, as the creation of the position of a child rights ombudsperson on the federal level is an important element of the process aimed at the fulfillment of the obligations to protect child rights assumed by the Russian Government under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is symbolic that it is happening on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention.
«The appointment of the Child Rights Ombudsperson under the President of the Russian Federation is a significant and well-timed step forward”, Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative in the Russian Federation, said. “International experience shows that the status of a child rights ombudsperson operating at the national level allows to raise issues concerning the protection of child rights at the highest political level, while the support of the country’s top leaders allows to address urgent issues in a more efficient and speedy manner. We can see that in those countries where national child rights ombudsperson institutions are in place, children’s rights are better protected and their interests are taken into account in decision making, while the public policy for children is supplemented by appropriate financing. It is essential that the Ombudsperson for Child Rights be guaranteed full independence”, Bertrand Bainvel pointed out.
Child rights ombudspersons are UNICEF’s long-standing partners. In 2005, the Association of Child Rights Ombudspersons was set up, with UNICEF’s assistance and support, in a number of the Russian constituent entities, with its 57 members successfully operating today in 24 Russian regions (both at the regional and municipal levels). The child rights ombudspersons work in cooperation with local and federal authorities, carry out independent assessment of child rights implementation, represent children’s legitimate interests in court and contribute to the development and advancement of appropriate legislation. Russia should take the deserved pride in the fact that presently, the Russian Association of Child Rights Ombudspersons is one of the most efficient among similar associations currently functioning in Europe. The establishment of the federal post of the Ombudsperson for Children’s Rights would further strengthen and promote the activities carried out by the Russian Association.
UNICEF would like to congratulate Alexey Golovan on his new appointment. We are sure that thanks to Alexey’s enthusiasm, open heart and professional skills, the federal Child Rights Ombudsperson Institution will be working efficiently, not only promoting the rights of individual children but also assisting in strengthening child protection mechanisms throughout Russia. UNICEF is willing to further promote the development of the child rights ombudsperson institution in Russia.