Russian Federation (CRC 25-02-2014)
The Committee considered the combined fourth and fifth periodic reports of the Russian Federation (CRC/C/RUS/4-5) at its 1863rd and 1864th meetings (see CRC/C/SR.1863 and 1864), held on 23 and 24 January 2014, and adopted, at its 1875th meeting, held on 31 January 2014, the following concluding observations.
B. General principles (arts. 2, 3, 6 and 12 of the Convention)
- The Committee is also concerned at the recent legislation of the State party prohibiting “propaganda of unconventional sexual relationships”, generally intended protect children, but which encourages the stigmatization of and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, including children, and children from LGBTI families. The Committee is particularly concerned that the vague definitions of propaganda used lead to the targeting and ongoing persecution of the country’s LGBTI community, including through abuse and violence, in particular against underage LGBTI-rights activists.
- The Committee recommends that the State party repeal its laws prohibiting propaganda of homosexuality and ensure that children who belong to LGBTI groups or children from LGBTI families are not subjected to any forms of discrimination by raising the public’s awareness of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Violence against children (arts. 19, 24 (3), 28 (2), 34, 37 (a) and 39 of the Convention)
Sexual exploitation and abuse
- The Committee remains concerned about the large number of cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of children in the State party, and the lack of cooperation between the law enforcement agencies and the social system to prevent such offences or to rehabilitate victims of sexual violence and sexual abuse. The Committee is also concerned about the sexual abuse of children who belong to LGBTI groups because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
- The Committee recommends that the State party establish interdepartmental cooperation at the federal, regional and local levels, in particular between law enforcement agencies and social services structures in order to prevent the sexual exploitation and abuse of children and to provide timely and effective rehabilitation to victims of such crimes. The Committee also recommends that the State party take urgent measures to investigate all information relating to the sexual abuse of children, including LGBTI children, and prosecute and punish the perpetrators of such crimes under the relevant provisions of the Criminal Code.
F. Disability, basic health and welfare (arts. 6, 18 (3), 23, 24, 26, 27 (1)–(3) and 33 of the Convention)
- The Committee is concerned at the high incidence of suicide and of drug and alcohol addiction among adolescents in the State party. The Committee is also concerned about the reports of coercive treatment of transsexual and homosexual persons, in particular children, and an attempt to diagnose transsexuality as psychiatric disease, as well as the lack of sexual health information for LGBTI children.
- The Committee recommends that the State party
(a) Take urgent action to strengthen its efforts to prevent suicide among children and young persons, including by increasing the psychological counselling services available and the number of social workers in schools and communities, and ensure that all professionals working with children are adequately trained to identify and address early suicidal tendencies and mental-health problems;
(b) Take measures to prevent drug and alcohol abuse among children by providing them with information about the negative health consequences thereof;
(c) Put an end to the coercive treatment of transsexual and homosexual persons, in particular children, and to attempts to diagnose transsexuality as a psychiatric disease, and provide LGBTI children with easy access to necessary sexual health information.
G. Education, leisure and cultural activities (arts. 28, 29 and 31 of the Convention)
Education, including vocational training and guidance
- The Committee welcomes the fact that the age of compulsory education was raised from 15 to 18 years of age in September 2007. However, the Committee is concerned that the benefits of free and compulsory education do not extend to all children in the country. In particular, it is concerned about:
(a) The widespread discrimination against migrant children and asylum-seeking children in the process of admission into schools, and regular visits of representatives of school administrations to the homes of migrant pupils in order to report on their migration status;
(b) The new draft law presented to the Duma which stipulates non-admission of children of migrant workers who are not registered as taxpayers into schools and preschool establishments;
(c) The obligation for children of migrant workers to renew their permit of stay every 90 days by leaving the country, regardless of the length of their parents’ legal stay, thus interrupting their education;
(d) Segregation of Roma children in schools and the low level of primary education among such children, which limits their access to secondary education;
(e) Violence and bullying in schools against children who belong to LGBTI groups.
- Taking into account its general comment No. 1 (2001) on the aims of education, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Ensure that all children, including minority children, children of irregular migrant workers and asylum-seeking children in the territory of the State party have access to free and compulsory education up to the age of 18 years without any discrimination;
(b) Prevent discriminatory initiatives against children of migrant workers, including the new draft law on non-admission of children of migrant workers without a tax certificate;
(c) Abolish the rule that residence permits must be renewed every 90 days for children of migrant workers and ensure that those children are allowed to stay and study in schools for the duration of the residence permit of their parents;
(d) Put an end to the segregation of Roma children and provide them with equal access to quality education both in primary and secondary schools, by providing special preparatory classes, if required;
(e) Take urgent measures to prevent the bullying of LGBTI children in schools by educating children and school staff and punishing the perpetrators.