Ombudsman: it’s wrong to make decisions without asking children

When making decisions, we have to listen to what children want, stressed Latvian Ombudsman Juris Jansons in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds.
On the 1st of June – International Children’s Day – Jansons said there are many «outrageous» cases in the field of protection of children’s rights in Latvia. He stressed it is important to listen to children’s opinions and cooperate with them when making decisions.

«It’s wrong to decide on our own without asking children simply because the boy or girl is too young,» said the ombudsman.

The Office of the Ombudsman receives a lot of complaints in relation to situations when parents argue and children end up hostages of the situation. Jansons believes the range of legal solutions is sufficient, but the biggest problem is children’s psycho-emotional health, which is hurt every time parents argue.
«Children experience psycho-emotional stress in many situations, and sometimes they refuse to meet with their father, for example. There is a ruling on the right of access, for example, but it is binding for parents, not children, who may not even want to meet one of their parents. But as to why the child may not want this – we have to dig deeper,» said Jansons, adding that examinations would be necessary in such cases.
Jasnons believes the de-institutionalisation programme has basically stopped. He also said the reform of orphan courts too has problems: «One step forward, two steps back».