Rules for children departing abroad from Russia must be tightened, according to Russia’s Children's Rights Commissioner, to prevent children from being taken by parents to Syria or Iraq.
According to the commissioner, Anna Kuznetsova, there are a lack of serious barriers to prevent such cases, and rules for children should not be allowed to depart without the permission of a second parent.
Kuznetsova says that this is how most Russian children end up in the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.
In a statement published on her official website, she claims that regional branches of her office have received more than 350 reports of parents learning that their children had been taken abroad to warzones.
The majority of these concern Chechen and Daghestani children, it continues.
Kuznetsova writes that the most dangerous cases are when children are trained in militant camps.
‘In Interpol they say that locating a child is only half of the job. It is very complicated to return them, and in fact, there are no structures that have such powers’, she writes.
Moreover, a child cannot be declared officially missing if they travel with their legal guardian, since the legislation is based on the presumption of the good faith from parents.
The office of the Children's Rights Commissioner is now working on a draft proposal to improve the law in this regards, they claim.
‘One such mechanism could be an obligation to have permission from both parents to take a child abroad. Another mechanism is the introduction of a criminal penalty for kidnapping a child by one member of the family’, the statement reads.