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Russia Proposes Bilateral Commission to Solve Child Custody Cases

Russia’s Ombudsman for Children has proposed to Finland the setting up of a bilateral advisory commission to help solve child custody cases. Under the proposal, representatives of the Justice and Foreign Ministries of both countries would participate together with their respective ombudsmen for children.

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Image: Pekka Sipilä / Yle

The proposal comes on the eve of a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Finland and against the background of extensive coverage by the Russian media of child custody disputes between parents from both countries.

Russia’s Ombudsman for Children, Pavel Astakhov told YLE the new proposal comes after Finland’s refusal to sign a bilateral agreement on the issue. Finland has consistently called for Russia to become a signatory to the Hague Convention on child abduction.

Astakhov believes the proposal for a bilateral commission will feature in talks between President Tarja Halonen and her Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev during his visit this week to Finland. However, a Finnish Foreign Ministry spokesman said the issue was not on the talks' agenda.

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