This year, the motion from Ruedi Noser for the creation of an Ombuds Office for children’s rights was debated and adopted by both the National Council and the Council of States. This is a success for children’s rights in Switzerland that is also thanks to the political commitment of the OSKR Alliance.
What happens now?
The ‘Child-friendly Justice Program’ from Kinderanwaltschaft Schweiz (Association “Kinderanwaltschaft Schweiz”) comes to an end in December 2020. Henceforth, the association will be focused on the right of children to qualified legal representation. Comprehensive phone-based legal advice for children and young people will no longer be offered. Due to political legislative processes, it will be some years before the public law ombuds office for children’s rights can begin operations.
In the interim phase, there will be a solution under private law to prevent a shortfall in assistance for the 100,000 children and young people in Switzerland who come into contact with the legal system every year. The foundation Ombuds Office Children’s Rights Switzerland will assume a variety of activities and responsibilities as a model/pilot project for the future public law body. The scope of activity of the foundation is nationwide and, accordingly, will be launched in four languages. The offered services encompass the following:
- Children and young people will be able to contact us directly via www.childrensombudsoffice.ch, where our experts will provide them with support that is aimed at safeguarding their rights. These experts will also analyse their situation, provide information on children’s (procedural) rights, advise on their options, make recommendations about further steps and, where necessary, serve as an intermediary between the child and current caregivers, decision-makers or institutions involved in their care. In particular, measures and efforts to safeguard the right of children and young people to be heard results in quicker assistance and greater scope for action for preventive protection.
- Expertise for specialists in the legal system and in the public sphere towards a child-friendly legal system throughout Switzerland. We advise all professionals and specialists in the legal system, educational institutions, legislative bodies as well as policymaking circles and the general public. Relevant information will be available on the website ombuds-office-childrens-rights-switzerland.ch in the form of a knowledge portal and information on training programs.
We greatly look forward to commencing our activities in January 2021.