About the Meeting on 17 January 2014 in Moscow of the Delegation of Russian Federation to the “Russian” Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) scheduled on 23-24 January 2014 with the representatives of Russian NGOs – authors of the alternative reports to the Russian Federation’s combined 4-th and 5-th Periodic State Report to CRC.
The Meeting took place in the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Russia, it was chaired by Alexei Vovchenko, Deputy Minister and Head of the Delegation. Also Members of the Delegation - representatives of the Ministries of Labor, of Health Care, of Education, of Regional Development, of Justice, of the Ministry of Interior, of the Investigation Committee of Russia, Head of the Department on Minors and Youth of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia, and representative of the President’s Ombudsman for Children’s Rights participated in the Meeting.
On behalf of NGOs - authors of alternative reports the participants of the Meeting were the representatives of Coalition “Alternative Report - 2013”, of the Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial”, of the LGBT NGO-groups, of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of North, Siberia and Far East.
In the beginning of the Meeting, answering the request of the Head of the Delegation, we outlined the positive evaluations of the last period which NGOs definitely recognize, in particular:
- The Draft of new Regulations of Children's Institutions, already agreed in all ministries and ready for approval by the Government in the nearest future, which establish the obligatory Family Groups Principle of life of inmates of the institutions. Another positive innovation of this Draft is the obligatory creation in the institutions of the targeted Divisions on the organization of the family placement of inmates, on the restoring work with biological families and on the post-internat accompaniment of graduates of the institutions. This Draft was elaborated following the demands of the Federal Law # 167-FZ from 2 July 2013, and in general this reform is an implementation of the Decree of President of Russian Federation # 1688 from 28 December 2012. We outlined that this reform may drastically change to better life of more than 300 thousands of inmates of Russian children’s institutions – those ones for whom family placement proves to be impossible for different reasons.
- The Law “On the basis of social services in RF” which was passed by State Duma in the end of December and which will hopefully turn Russian social system at the effective case-management approach and at the assistance to citizens and families in need basically at the place of their life, in a familiar social environment and without separation of children and parents. In particular this Law establishes the free of charge social assistance to families with disabled children, which will permit to decrease essentially the separation of children with the limited possibilities of health from their parents (these children are nowadays the largest group of inmates of Russian children’s institutions).
We also outlined some points of great concern:
- Mostly painful problem of a number of disabled orphans who were totally ready for adoption to American families a year ago and who still stay in Russian institutions because of the ban of adoption to the USA established by the so called ‘Dima Yakovlev’ Law. Our message at the Meeting was quite simple: adoption of disabled child is a practically impossible luck, any artificial obstacles in it are morally unacceptable, and we ask President’s Ombudsman for Children’s Rights to approach NOW President of Russia with the proposal to initiate the amendment to the ‘Dima Yakovlev’ Law which excludes disabled children from the adoption ban.
- Eviction of children on the streets and discrimination of children without residence registration. In particular Government of Moscow adopted recently new rules depriving the pre-school education children of about 2 millions of Moscow population who do not have permanent residence registration in Moscow. We expressed the hope that the laws which put an end to these painful phenomena will be passed soon.
- Absence of the Federal interdepartmental coordinating body responsible for determining the general State politics in the field of protection of childhood and responsible in particular for implementation of priorities of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We again expressed hope that Governmental Commission on Minors will be strengthened and will become capable to fulfill these tasks.
- Continued regional disparity in the quality of life of children. National Strategy of Actions in the Interests of Children (adopted by the President’s Decree # 761 from 1 June 2012) demands establishing of the federal minimal standards of quality of life of children, however no measures to implement this priority were formulated so far. However representative of the Ministry of Health Care clarified at the Meeting that in 2013 the new rules were adopted which liquidate regional disparity in providing medical services. This information is really promising.
Representatives of the Anti-Discrimination Centre (ADC) informed on the cases of segregation of Roma children in schools. Members of the Delegation from the General Prosecutor’s Office and from the Ministry of Education asked to inform them about all cases of such violations of the Law.
Also representatives of ADC outlined the painful problem of artificial separation of children of migrant workers from their parents because the Law demands children leave Russia every 90 days – even in case their parents have much longer permission to stay in Russia. We informed members of the Delegation that leadership of the Federal Migration Service of Russia agrees that these items of the Federal Law # 115-FZ from 25.07.2002 “On the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Russian Federation” come in contradiction with Convention on the Rights of the Child and must be amended.
Representatives of the LGBT NGOs said about the tragic cases of cruel abuse of the sexually non-traditional minors. Members of the Delegation outlined that there are no laws or rules in Russia which proclaim any discrimination of individual on the basis of sexual orientation. And everybody agreed that upbringing of children and youth in the spirit of tolerance should be substantially enhanced.
Representative of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of North, Siberia and Far East said about the problems outlined in their Alternative Report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.