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Call for Ukraine to create an institution to protect the rights of the child

05.11.2008    source: human-rights.unian.net

The Chairperson of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children [ENOC], George Moshos is calling on Ukraine to create an institution for protecting the rights of children as soon as possible. His words came at a press conference given in Kyiv following a visit by an ENOC Delegation, organized by the Oleksandr Feldman Foundation with the support of UNICEF.

Mr Moshos pointed out that the Ukraine had ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child without any reservations back in 1991.  In accordance with the Convention, countries take on the commitment to carry out all necessary measures for ensuring effective protection of the rights of the child.

In 2002 the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Ukraine introduce the office of Ombudsperson for Children since the role of the Human Rights Ombudsperson does not envisage regular monitoring and assessment of the implementation of the Convention, and does not have mechanisms for responding to complaints regarding violations of children’s rights. No such office has yet been created.

“In keeping with European standards and ENOC standards, an independent institution defending children’s rights needs to be created at legislative level.”  This can function either as an independent body, or within the office of the Human Rights Ombudsperson.

Mr Moshos added that a Ombudsperson for Children should be assisted by a team of specialists from different fields, for example, educationalists, lawyers, doctors and others. They need to participate directly in drafting and preparing all official documents pertaining to the rights of the child.

At the present time there are Children’s Ombudspersons in 27 EU countries. In the 1990s such institutions were established in at least 40 countries.

Mr Moshos noted that different countries have different systems, but that each is staffed by real professionals. He expressed the hope that Ukraine’s parliament would in the near future vote on a draft law for creating an institution to protect the rights of the child.  A draft law was tabled in parliament on 30 May this year by Oleksandr Feldman, National Deputy (BYuT).

Mr Moshos believes that the passing of this law would make it possible to initiate real work on protecting children’s rights in Ukraine. He also stressed that the main objective of the law would be to ensure State protection for the rights and freedoms of the child, coordination of the work of state bodies and civic organizations in this sphere and to form a single approach to state policy on children, as well as bringing domestic legislation into line with international standards.

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