M.Ichinnorov: We must change methods for protecting children’s rights

Trans. by B.DULGUUN

As crimes against children are increasing, legal bodies are required to become more skilled at preventing crimes against children and human rights violations. Mongolia is currently enforcing a program to prepare instructor-trainers at legal bodies for abolishing violence against children and protecting juvenile victims and witnesses.

The following is an interview with one of Mongolia’s leading human rights attorneys, M.Ichinnorov, about this topic.

Crimes related to violence against children have caused a major public uproar for some time, but it has quieted down now. How is child abuse prevention system supposed to be like? 

Mongolia must create a mechanism, program and legal environment that complies with international conventions that Mongolia has joined for human rights and child rights, and all protocol regulations, guidelines and legal norms. Even if great laws are adopted, it would be useless if there’s no change in the structure, mechanism, work force, finance, resource, mind-set and method for the law’s implementation. One of the most effective ways to prevent violence against children is to legislate and specify exactly what actions and violations are considered as violence against children. Classification and types of violence against children must be defined in detail, including the degree, range and limit of violations.

 What actions should be considered as child abuse? 

All types of physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment, abuse, insults, injuries to the body, forced labor and neglect of a child or children should be considered as violence against children. International documents consider these as child abuse, too. Also, setting the range and community of violations by specifying domestic violence and violence in school, kindergarten, society, cyber world, public, workplace, law enforcement agencies, and prison will create a requirement for giving special attention to violations at every social sector. 

Some people speculate that people in legal service sectors make mistakes when interacting with child victims and witnesses of crimes and abuse. Is it true that legal bodies will be trained on this? 

Mongolian judges, prosecutors, police officers and human rights attorneys have been included in a special training of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and were trained as instructor-trainers in Thailand. I’m leading this team. With support from the UNICEF Mongolia Resident Representative, the National Legal Institute and Personal Development Institute worked together and selected people from judicial, prosecutor, police, attorney and children’s agencies. Currently, a program to train 30 people to become instructor-trainer is being executed.

There’s a very important document with 17 guideline strategies about dealing and interacting with child victims and witnesses, as well as preventing child abuse. The UN has also approved a model law for working with underage victims and witnesses during criminal proceedings. Our training will deliver how a national child protection system must be formed using these two important documents. It’s possible that underage children could receive additional traumatic impact, fear or psychological burden. Staff of law enforcement agencies should be very sensitive and be extremely well-trained in this matter. 

How is the protection system for underage victims and witnesses in Mongolia? 

Protecting children from violence and crimes means that children should be protected in advance from becoming a victim in crime. If they’ve become a victim once, it’s the state’s responsibility to protect them from suffering again. One of the most crucial steps of a victim protection system is to provide psychological and heath care assistance in recovering damages, and fixing and curing injuries and imperfections of child victims. A child protection system includes these factors.

In Mongolia, we aren’t able to prevent violence against children at all. Rehabilitation services are completely inadequate. A strict provision should be issued in the law stating that people who work close to children, including teachers, nurses, doctors and social workers, are responsible for taking preventive measures and informing law enforcement agencies as soon as they get an indication or suspicion of child abuse. Liability system for cases when this responsibility is neglected should be made specific. 

Source: Daily Newspaper


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