Children’s Ombudsman Pending
Earlier this May, Vice-President of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Renate Winter visited Uzbekistan. Then she recalled that one of the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was setting up the post of a children’s commissioner.
In practice, each country decides as to which recommendations to adopt and which ones not to. Uzbekistan listened to the advice of the UN Committee and undertaken active efforts at the National Center for Human Rights. To date, the bill to establish the institution of the children’s ombudsman is under consideration.
What was rather interesting to observe in the process is the participation of the youths who came from all regions of our country in the finalization of the draft of that normative act. This opportunity was provided by the UNICEF Office in Uzbekistan as part of the celebration of World Children’s Day.
The bill on the children’s commissioner was discussed by representatives of the younger generation at a roundtable where they expressed their views on how the legal act could be improved and voiced recommendations on increasing the participation of children at all levels of decision-making.
The creation of a children’s ombudsman was provided for in the Law on Guarantees of the Rights of the Child, as well as recommended by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013. In May 2017, Renate Winter called this recommendation to mind.
After that, the youngest and most active boys and girls entered into a discussion with members of parliament and spoke on issues affecting their lives. At a meeting in the lower chamber of the Oliy Majlis, the members of the Young Generation Council shared their experience in solving problems in their regions. They revealed presentations on the successes achieved, as well as problems encountered in implementing their projects on the ground. “Interactive dialogue with young people”. In an informal realm, its members held discussion with decision-makers. They shared their ideas on how children and young people can make their significant contribution to the development of the country.
Undoubtedly, the results of all the discussions held on World Children’s Day will contribute to the further consolidation of Uzbekistan’s youth policy. As chairwoman of the Association for the Support of Children and Families, Inkibol Yusupova, suggested, “the creation of a special ombudsman for children and youth will not only implement one of the key recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, but also promote more effective implementation of programs for ensuring the well-being of kids, monitoring the compliance with their rights and active involvement in the development of the country”.
Yet one should not forget that this is a very sensitive issue, and its solution has problems not so much technical as ethical. After all, as Renata Winter had noted, the children’s ombudsman is not a building or material equipment, it’s a team of specialists who, in addition to legal skills, have experience in the field of juvenile justice.
Opening the meeting, the head of the UNICEF Office in Uzbekistan Sascha Graumann said that Uzbekistan is in an important demographic stage, and that during the next decade the number of children will grow in population and replenish labor resources. If one invests correctly in youth today, Graumann stressed, it can become a generation that will lead Uzbekistan to a higher level of social and economic development. On the same day, the Youth Union of Uzbekistan hosted an event entitled