Honorable members of the Committee for the Rights of the Child, representatives of international organizations - I salute you! I would also, of course, like to greet all my countrymen present at this meeting, especially the children.
First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here and to talk about children's rights in my country.
At the beginning of my presentation I want to say that I was recently appointed to the position of ombudsman for child rights protection on April 8, 2016, under the new law on the People's Advocate (Ombudsman), no. 52 of 03/04/2014, after two years from the entry into force of the law. In the absence of a Children's Ombudsperson, this sector was covered by my colleague, the Ombudsman, which has general powers.
I would like to specify that the Ombudsman was given enough mechanisms to exercise its 7 year mandate in the context of achieving the mission «to ensure the rights and freedoms of the child and implementation at national level by public authorities and local by the persons responsible for all levels of the UN Convention on the rights of the child»; the Ombudsperson can petition the Constitutional Court; submit cases and conclusions in courts; proposals to amend the legislation, to request any information from any official / institution (regardless of the form of organization), and, where appropriate, to stop any violation of children's rights, reactions - opinions, recommendations, taking the floor in meetings with the government, parliament, act ex officio on the problems identified and examine complaints of children and/or their representatives, etc.
I would also like to mention that I exercise my duties having as partners the children, civil society, including NGOs, the media and international organizations, including UNICEF Moldova. I've had meetings with all of these groups' representatives, discussed issues concerning children's rights in Moldova and identified methods of cooperation with them.
This report on children's rights (in the context of implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) was based on the views of children and other partners, the Committee's recommendations during the last assessment in 2009 and the current problems identified by the Ombudsperson.
The progress made by the State to ensure child rights is valuable. Many changes were made to the legislative and institutional framework in the areas of protection and promotion of children's rights and prevent violations. Changes in policies and strategies have a positive impact on the enforcement of child rights in the country and this improvement was confirmed by the survey results, organized by the Office of the Ombudsman, «The perception of human rights in Moldova». According to the survey, 57.7% of respondents said that children's rights are «well» and «very well' respected - this group being ranked first.
In light of the above facts, I have identified the following problems which in my opinion should be/remain on the Government's agenda:
- Juvenile justice
- Juvenile delinquency
- Children in detention
- Children in pre-trial centers
- Children in the psycho-neurological and psychiatric medical institutions
- The rehabilitation and re-socialization of children in conflict with the law, including «street children»
- Victims of crime
- Inclusive education of children with special educational needs (SEN)
- Organization of friendly transportation of children to district schools
- Ensuring quality food in schools
- Free education, oriented towards acquiring life skills
- Educate a healthy lifestyle, based on sport
- Qualitative Study of Children's Rights
- Overload of the school program
- Protecting the rights of orphans, children without parental care and providing them with housing
- Access to free and high quality healthcare services
- Lack of specialists in child protection in inter-sectorial cooperation mechanism for the identification, evaluation, referral, assistance and monitoring of child victims and potential victims of violence, neglect, exploitation and trafficking
- Develop national standards on the rights of «street children»
- Ensure a healthy environment
In this context, the state must:
- continue the reforms started and developing new ones in line with international standards
- develop new child-friendly services
- identify financial resources to ensure sustainability of reforms
- apply best practices of other states
- prepare high quality child rights specialists
In all actions, it is very important that the child's interest is put first. I personally, in my capacity as Children's Ombudsperson, will act in the interest of children, taking into account the duties established by law and the Paris Principles, in order to ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of the child within the spirit and rules of the CRC.