UNICEF and OHCHR joint statement on Child Code

29 March 2022

UNICEF’s statement on the 30th July 2021 welcomed the adoption of the new version of the Child Code and its accompanying legislation by the Parliament on July 29th, as a key legal framework to strengthen the rule of law and build a robust child protection system to ensure the protection and wellbeing of all children, and their families, in the Kyrgyz Republic. This result was the culmination of three and half years of work by Parliament, ministries and departments and the judiciary. The adoption of this Child Code would be seen as a significant step by the Kyrgyz Republic to fulfill the national commitment to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child as the country will present its periodic report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2023 as well as mid-term report to the Universal Periodic Review in 2022.

Following the adoption by the Parliament, the objections raised by the President’s Office and actions to address them through the Parliamentary Conciliation Group are welcomed as an active demonstration of open debate in the Kyrgyz Republic. UNICEF and OHCHR urge the new Parliament to re-establish the Conciliation Group, in line with Parliamentary rules of procedures, in order to review and address the remaining concerns guided by the principles of “best interests of the child”. Through open discussion, it is possible to find a way forward in order that the Child Code can be signed and implemented with the objective to increase the protection of children against all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation, particularly the most vulnerable. This would be a direct response to the 2014 concluding observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the 2020 recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review and the 2021 concluding observations on the Convention Against Torture.

The revised version of the Child Code introduces important measures. Notably, the Code will introduce a specialized child protection social work unit at the municipal level, to provide timely, regular and effective case management and services to children at risk and their families. This is in alignment with other social services where health facilities and schools are also located at the municipal level. Having trained social workers at the municipal level will ensure the provision of comprehensive social services and efficient coordination with all involved sectors which will be particularly important to comprehensively address violence.

The existence of a local unit will also promote the importance of family in a child’s life, as the revised version of the Child Code prioritizes support to children in a family environment. It recognizes the need for short term, emergency and specialized care in specific circumstances when the child cannot be maintained in its own family and proposes family-type institutions for no more than twelve children. Reinforcing the importance of family is also the reason why the Code provides for parents migrating for labour purposes to formalize guardianship of their children.

UNICEF and OHCHR stand ready to further support the Parliament and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in implementing the Child Code for ensuring the best interest of children in the country.

Media contacts

Mavliuda Dzhaparova
Communication Officer
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan

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