Resignation of Aleksey Golovan, Presidential Representative on Children??‚??s Rights

A decree signed by Dmitry Medvedev on 26 December stated that Aleksey Golovan had been relieved of his position at his own request.

According to Ella Pamfilova, chair of the Council of the President for Assisting the Development of Institutions of Civil Society and Human Rights, this news came as a shock. The protection of children’s rights was one of the main activities of the Council and a number of proposal had been planned with the participation of Aleksey Golovan. She hoped that the work would be continued with his help despite his different status. This was particularly important in cases where there were people who opposed measures to increase penalties for the sexual abuse of children.

According to Galina Semya, expert of the Duma Committee on Women, the Family and Children, there was simply no other candidate for the post of federal ombudsman. He had been the right man for the job and no other candidate had the same experience, knowledge or national and international connections.

According to Boris Altshuler, head of the regional voluntary organisation “The Right of a Child”, it was not clear why Aleksey Golovan had gone. The establishment of the position of Presidential Representative on Children’s Rights had been the most important event of 2009. When taking up his post, Mr Golovan had said that his main task was to create a system for protecting childhood. The presidential representative was in fact a supervisory and consultative position and not an authority which acted by itself. Although the system should not be completely dependent on the personality at the top, the representative could make a difference in applying pressure to local authorities, as examples from other countries had shown. Mr Golovan was a combative man and it was not certain what would happen after he had gone.

According to Tatyana Tulchinskaya, director of the foundation “Here and Now”, Aleksey Golovan was developing many plans and there was no warning of his resignation. “At his own request” may have meant there were problems in the job or possibly he had personal reasons. He had been the most suitable and professional person for this job.



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