Children’s ombudswoman: Observance of children’s rights should be key

Ombudswoman for Children’s Rights Maia Bănărescu said the subject of use of child pictures has become her focus of attention together with the launch of the campaign prior to the presidential elections. In a news conference at IPN, the ombudswoman spoke about children’s rights and analyzed them in the context of the national legislation and international standards that ban the use of images of minors with the aim of obtaining electoral advantages.

The children have the rights to opinion, information, association, private life, to take part in public and political activities, but cannot be exposed and used by the parents, legal representatives and other persons responsible for their growth and development and by public or private institutions with the aim of obtaining advantages. “Using the images of minors as electoral material or their involvement in activities that can bring electoral advantages is unacceptable,” stated Maia Bănărescu.

The child is an active subject and this has the right to use his rights. Any limitation should be in strict accordance with the international standards and current legislation. “The children should not be estranged from the electoral thematic. Even the general comments of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child envision the possibility of children taking part in electoral debates, putting questions, inquiring about the programs of election runners and even becoming affiliated to movements, if they sympathize with someone,” said Dumitru Darea, senior consultant of the Children’s Rights Division of the Ombudsman’s Office.

According to him, the authorities that monitor the electoral process, such as the CEC, and also the electoral contenders must meet the international standards on the protection of children’s rights. “Even if Article 13 of the law on the rights of the child bans the involvement of children in political and electoral activities, this bans only those who have obligations from attracting children,” stated Dumitru Darea.

Moldova’s legislation does not stipulate penalties for state officials, public functionaries or electoral players that use children and images with them by violating the mentioned norms, said the representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office, noting that they will propose relevant amendments to the legislation.

For the November 1 elections, the electoral players are urged not to use the pictures of children for electoral purposes. The parents are warned that they are responsible for the security of children and the protection of their image. If an electoral player uses the image of children, the parents or the legal representatives should use all the available instruments to denounce such cases.

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