Concluding Observations for the Russian Federation's Initial OPAC Report


Below is a short summary of some of the key issues from the Committee on the Rights of the Child's 65th session concluding observations for the Russian Federation’s initial report on the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC). Read the full text, and you can find other documents related to the Committee's 65th session (including alternative reports submitted by NGOs and the Committee's concluding observations for other States reviewed in this session) on the Committee’s 65th session page. Please note that these are not official UN summaries.


Data: The Committee regrets the insufficiency of data relating to children below the age of 18 years in military schools as well as asylum seeking, refugee and migrant children who may have been recruited or used in armed hostilities in other countries. The Committee recommends the establishment of a mechanism for the comprehensive collection of data, disaggregated by sex, age, nationality, ethnic origin and socio-economic background, on all areas relevant for the implementation of the protocol.

Voluntary recruitment: Despite the State party’s declaration that the minimum age for conscription for military service and entering into contract to perform military service is 18 years, the Committee is concerned that children of 16 years are entitled to admission to professional military educational institutions and thereby acquire the status of members of the military performing compulsory military service. The Committee recommends that the State party amend its laws and policies ensuring that children under the age of 18 years enrolled in higher military institutions are never subjected to voluntary recruitment irrespective of their military education.

Military schools: The Committee is concerned that children as young as 10 attending military schools undergo basic military training and boys as young as 15 attending general schools undergo basic military training which includes firearms. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that boys of 12-15 years from care institutions or in other vulnerable situations are enrolled into cadet schools often without their consent or without the necessary information to make an informed decision. The Committee is also concerned that children in military schools and in higher military institutes are subjected to military discipline and punishment and often face violence and bullying. The Committee recommends the State party ban military training in the use of firearms and combat for children in all schools; ensures that no child is enrolled  in a military school without consent or adequate information; and ensures that children are not subjected to military discipline and punishment, violence and bullying.

Chechen Republic conflicts: The Committee is concerned that the State party failed to investigate the cases of alleged involvement of children by non-state armed groups as well as cases where children fell victim of hostilities during the conflicts in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation. The Committee recommends that the State party take necessary measures to investigate these cases and that all responsible are held accountable, prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims obtain redress.

Migrant children: The Committee is concerned about the lack of mechanisms in place to identify at an early stage among refugee, asylum seeking and migrant children those who may have been involved in armed conflicts in other countries. It also regrets the lack of information on the procedures for their protection, recovery and reintegration. The Committee recommends that the State party put in place mechanisms to identify at an early stage those children who may have been involved in conflicts abroad; that those responsible for identification are trained on child rights, child protection and interviewing skills; and former child soldiers are provided with appropriate assistance for rehabilitation and reintegration.

Advocating the protocol: The Committee also recommends that the State party use its permanent position in the Security Council in a more consistent and child rights-focused manner to promote the implementation of the protocol in all States parties.

Export of arms: The Committee is concerned at reports of export of arms by the State party to numerous countries, including Syria, where children are used by armed groups and fall victims of the armed conflict. The Committee recommends that the State party reconsider its policies in relation to trade and export of arms to countries where children are known to have been or are involved in armed conflict.






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