A Golovan appointed Children’s Rights Ombudsman in the Office of the President



A Golovan appointed Children’s Rights Ombudsman in the Office of the President


According to the Kremlin website, Dmitry Medvedev has created the above post and appointed to it Mr Alex Golovan, formerly the children’s rights ombudsman in the city of Moscow.


Legal changes have meant that in Moscow the children’s ombudsman became one of the deputies of the ombudsman who deals with human rights (generally). Mr Golovan told ASI that he had been given the right to ask for any information from government agencies or subjects of the RF; to have unhindered access to  any of these; to set up consultative councils; to involve experts in the work; to make independent inspections of agencies and institutions where he perceives breaches of the law taking place with regard to children’s rights; and to make recommendations with a view to preventing violations of, and upholding, children’s rights. ‘This is the standard range of ombudsman powers’, he emphasised.


In addition, the head of state recommended that local state agencies establish the post of children’s rights ombudsman. ‘Mr Medvedev made a special point of speaking about that and commissioned me to travel to the regions to help with establishing these posts. It is not all regions that fully understand the implications.’ he added. Mr Golovan thinks that ideally there should be created independent ombudsman institutions in the regions, that is autonomous agencies of state based on regional legislation, a classical example of which is the Moscow ombudsman. However, he does accept that circumstances vary from region to region. ‘Some do not have a great number of children and it is not possible to create a separate institution in the blink of an eye.’ he said. ‘We should aim at the classical model. There are regions where the children’s ombudsman is located within the establishment of the human rights ombudsman. We should look on this model as being temporary. But if no-one is (otherwise) engaged in children’s rights work in the area then I would not characterise this as a bad model’, stressed Mr Golovan. Besides his work in the regions, he also said that he would be working on setting up a similar institution in the capital. He added that he had no grounds for regarding his post, which had been newly created by the president, as not being independent. ‘From my conversation with the president it was clear that he would assist with the setting up and operation of the institution. But I see no grounds for saying that he intends to tell us how to go about our business.’


The decree has been seen as a brilliant move by the president, which avoids the delays inherent in obtaining legislation and marks an important step towards the creation of a system of child protection in the country. Also, Mr Golovan is seen as having an outstanding reputation in the field. His staff are likely to work hard. There is a prospect that the ‘presidential’ office will turn into a national one especially as legislation is being prepared in the Duma which could provide a sympathetic vehicle for the purpose.



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