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Government against creating baby boxes in Russian regions

June 01, 18:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Cabinet believes that the idea of creating baby boxes runs counter to the Constitution of the Russian Federation
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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Kimerling

MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. The Russian government has not supported a bill initiated by members of the Federation Council Vadim Tyulpanov Liliya Gumerova and Yelena Afanasyeva, as well as State Duma deputy Alexei Zhuravlev, which provides for the creation of places for anonymous abandonment of newborn babies (baby boxes or baby hatches) to the discretion of the regions, the upper house staff told TASS on Wednesday.

The document was submitted to the Duma (lower house) in December 2015. The explanatory note to it says that "the mothers who do not want for some reasons to go through the formal child surrender procedure, simply leave their newborn at places dangerous for their life and health, and often kill their newborn children." The authors of the initiative said that for saving the life of babies and preventing infanticide by the mothers "it would be legitimate to provide for the possibility of anonymous abandonment of a child by the mother at places safe for the baby’s life and health." The parliamentarians referred to the positive experience of a number of countries, as well as a number of Russian regions, where "life windows" operate on a trial basis.

According to the government’s opinion (its copy is available to TASS), the Cabinet believes that the idea of creating baby boxes runs counter to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. "In accordance with the Russian Constitution (Article 38), taking care of children and their upbringing is not only the right, but also the responsibility of parents," the document says. In addition, the bill, the Cabinet believes, contradicts the Family Code, which defines "both the rights and duties of parents for the upbringing and education of children and the fundamental children rights, including the right of every child to live and grow up in a family, to know his parents, to live together with them, and the right to ensuring his interests, all-round development, respect for his human dignity."

In addition, the government referred to the opinion of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which back in 2014 expressed concern over the presence in a number of Russian regions of special places for anonymous abandonment of babies and considered this fact a violation of several articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UN Committee also called on Russia "to take all necessary measures to stop this practice and promote alternative measures, fully taking into account the commitments of the Russian Federation to fully implement all the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child," the government said in its judgement.

The government also believes that "the legal framework proposed by the bill" deprives children of the right to receive free medical care at medical institutions of the private health care system, as well as the right to rehabilitation. In addition, "the implementation of the bill may require additional budget expenditures from Russian regions." "Based on the above, the Russian government did not support the bill," the document says.

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