MOSCOW, December 13 - RAPSI. A child can only be taken from his family after a court ruling is issued in this regard, Children's Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said at an expert council meeting on Thursday.

"Children can only be taken from their parents under specific circumstances pursuant to a court ruling based on the European Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child," he said.

Astakhov stressed that the European Councils Parliamentary Assembly has adopted the Human Rights and Family Affairs Courts document to resolve such issues.

"The document states that the assembly is worried by the actions of some member states of the European Council," he said. "It also hints at Finland where children have been taken against their parents' will, which violates the right of respect to family life and the principle of a fair trial."

The document states that a family is the best environment for a child's development, and adds that a family should receive assistance from a third party or a specialized institution before a child is taken away, Astakhov said. However, the major problem is that no one offers such help, he said.

In September, the Finnish authorities took four children away from their Russian mother, including her newly born child, claiming they had been abused. Several weeks later, after the Russian Foreign Ministry intervened, the children were returned.

However, they were taken away once again in early December.