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Czech children often turning to ombudsman

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Brno, Aug 6 (CTK) – The Czech Public Defender of Rights (ombudsman’s office) sometimes deals with complaints sent by children, most often due to the disputes in families associated with divorce or the parents’ debts and distraints, ombudsman’ s spokeswoman Iva Hrazdilkova has told journalists.

Last year, a girl aged 7 was the youngest child to have sent a complaint, Hrazdilkova said.

In 2016, the ombudsman’s office received 61 complaints from children and in the first six months of this year 12, Hrazdilkova said.

The Czech Republic is one of the last EU countries without a child ombudsman office. Its establishment has been suggested for years and it was also recommended to the Czech Republic by the U.N. Child Rights Committee.

A few years ago, the ombudsman’s office founded a special webpage for children.

Ombudsman Anna Sabatova gives priority to children’s affairs.

“We can only deal with children’s complaints within the bounds of the law on the public defender of rights. This means that we can only pay attention to the complaints relating to the government bodies or discrimination,” Hrazdilkova said.

“We try to give some advice to the children, explain the situations to them and outline the right direction to them,” she added.

The children’s complaints most often cover the feuds in families. As a rule, these are the situations in which a child is entrusted in the care of one parent after a divorce and it does not want to maintain contact with the other or, on the contrary, it wants to live with the other one.

Another sphere of problems worrying the children is connected with finances. This may be a lack of money caused by the other parent failing to pay maintenance or the parents facing distraints. In such situations, the child may only want some advice for the parents in order to improve the financial situation of the family.

Last year, the Czech Public Defender of Rights received about 8400 complaints, most frequently relating to social insurance, followed by the construction and regional development problems.

In 2015, help from the office was asked for by some 7500 people.

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