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Finland's Ombudsman for Children: Bilateral Commission Unnecessary

Finland’s Ombudsman for Children Maria-Kaisa Aula says a Finnish-Russian advisory commission on child custody cases is unnecessary. Aula says that existing international agreements along with national laws should suffice.

Maria-Kaisa Aula
Maria Kaisa Aula Image: YLE

On Tuesday, Russia’s Ombudsman for Children Pavel Astahov proposed that Russia and Finland establish a commission to resolve international custody battles. According to the proposal, ombudsmen for children and representatives from the Justice and Foreign Ministries of both countries would participate in the commission.

However, Aula says that such a commission is unnecessary.

”We have enough multilateral agreements, like the Hague Convention or the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Council of Europe agreement that focuses on child matters. And our own laws direct our actions. Why would we need this kind of commission?” she asks.

Aula says that Russia and Finland can certainly discuss differences of opinions and increase understanding on both sides. However, Finland follows its own laws in custody and child protection cases.

Under Finnish law, a child’s cultural background is considered in custody cases. Aula says this includes acknowledging a child’s mother tongue and religious beliefs. However, it does not mean that Finnish traditions will not be followed.

Meanwhile, corporal punishment is outlawed in Finland. In Russia, it is legal.

Russia Proposes Bilateral Commission to Solve Child Custody Cases



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