number of orphans may rise again

According to the A. Golovan, plenipotentiary on children's rights under the President of RF (Gazeta, September 15, 2009) statistics show that child abuse, orphan’s’ rights and welfare of children with disabilities are currently the most crucial issues in Russia. Golovan also expressed concern that in the near future the number of social orphans may rise again.According to Golovan, there are 28 million children in Russia today. Last year over 161 thousand became victims of abuse and violence. “1914 children died from abuse by adults, often their own parents, said Golovan, and 2.3 thousand children received serious injuries.” Golovan believes that the number of orphans is overstated but that it may start rising again. He admitted that economic crisis, when parents aren’t paid by their employers or lose their jobs, leads to undernourishment and violence in families. In such conditions children may run away from homes and the number of street children may grow. The ombudsman referred to the data received from the Prosecutor General office – 12.5 thousand minor children were missing last year and, of course, not all of them were found. Golovan stated that he and a group of experts are currently working on a new strategy of protecting children’s rights. He thinks Russia should consider ratifying the UN Convention on children’s rights in the areas of child trafficking, child prostitution and pornography, which would help Russian law-enforcement agencies coordinate their work with their international colleagues. “I talked with colleagues from US, Japan and European countries. There are problems everywhere”. Golovan mentioned that Russia and US share the leading place in production of child pornography. The ombudsman also clarified the questions of drug test among schoolchildren and college students. Russian President Medvedev announced his support of that idea at the meeting of the Security Council on September 8, 2009. “Drug tests among children under 15 years old will be taken only upon parents’ consent, said Golovan, and for children older than 15 – on voluntary basis. No one will force them to take the tests. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage young people to take tests voluntarily.