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Russia, Finland sign memorandum of understanding on family and children

May 23, 2017, 17:30 UTC+3 HELSINKI
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HELSINKI, May 23. /TASS/. Children’s Rights Commissioner for the Russian President Anna Kuznetsova, who is currently on a visit to Finland, and Finnish Ombudsman for Children Tuomas Kurttila signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Family and Children, the Finnish ombudsman’s press service said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The document defines cooperation between the commissioner and the ombudsman in regard to exchanging information, facilitating expert cooperation, holding expert meetings and science seminars," the statement reads.

Tool for ensuring child rights

According to the press service, the memorandum will help more effectively implement the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the same time, the document is not considered to be an intergovernmental agreement and only concerns cooperation between the Russian children's rights commissioner and the Finnish ombudsman for children.

Kuznetsova and Kurttila said that they could conduct a meaningful exchange of ideas on child rights that was "important for maintaining mutual confidence."

"This is a tool for systemic cooperation. Taking into account the fact that the Finnish ombudsman mainly tackles common issues, it is very important to put specific issues on the agenda," Kuznetsova said. "We have very much in common, but there are a lot of differences as well, which emerged during our meetings. The main thing is that we are ready and willing to overcome differences and address problems," the Russian children's rights commissioner added. According to her, now the parties have "a tool to develop."

Investment in future

"We now have a memorandum, I am very pleased with it. It only concerns our work but there is a lot of work to do - we need to exchange ideas and experience, discuss the implementation of various projects. We haven’t done much of it in the recent years," Kurttila told TASS.

He added that during the Russian children’s rights commissioner’s visit, the parties had not discussed another pressing issue concerning bilateral relations, that is, Moscow’s decision to ban Finnish citizens from adopting Russian children, made after Finland had allowed same-sex marriages. According to Kurttila, the parties have not discussed the possibility of making a foreign adoption agreement but they could do it in the future.

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