@coe @ChildrensRights @EUParliament for @EU_Commission

Celebrating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the MEPs on this video are:

  1. Anna-Maria Corazza Bildt from Sweden;
  2. Caterina Chinnici from Italy;
  3. Nathalie Griesbeck from France;
  4. Dr. Miriam Dalli from Malta;
  5. Teresa Jimenez-Becerril Barrio from Spain;
  6. Julie Ward from the UK;
  7. Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea from Spain;
  8. Jana Zitnanska from Slovakia.

This post describes the progression of ‘child awareness’ in the EU Parliament.

1989: The UN CONVENTION on the RIGHTS of the CHILD

On 20 November 1989 the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was signed by 140 countries. Since then, 196 countries except the United States are party to it.

However, the gap between the theory of ‘rights’ and the reality of ‘implementation’ is ginormous:

Hence our repeated references to two Council of Europe [Strasbourg not Brussels] reports:

  1. Human Rights and Family Courts of November 2012;
  2. Social Services in Europe: legislation and practice of the removal of children from their families in Council of Europe member States of January 2015.

On 19 March 2014 I delivered my six minutes of passion to the Petitions Committee of the EU Parliament, on behalf of 30 parents who had hoped to see their children returned to them, blissfully unaware of the level of awareness among MEPs, let alone the Commission as a serious stumbling block.

On 11 November 2014 I presented our petition to Abolish Adoptions without Parental Consent to the newly elected Committee.

2014: 25th ANNIVERSARY at EU PARLIAMENT

On 16 November 2014 27 MEPs from 17 countries, 8 from the ‘new’ member states, i.e. Central or Eastern European, united by the largest and oldest political group European People’s Party [PPE] presented the EU Commission with this question for oral answer:

– How will the Commission and the High Representative ensure that the best interests of the child are taken into account in any proposed EU legislation?

– Given the effect of the current humanitarian and economic situation on children, what initiatives will the Commission and the High Representative take to develop a more comprehensive children’s rights framework, as a follow-up to the EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child adopted in 2011?

On 24 November 2014 this Motion for a Resolution on the 25th Anniversary of the UN Child Rights Convention [UNCRC] was signed by 114 MEPs – across all political groups and Member States.

On Wednesday 26 November 2014 a Plenary Debate had the 25th Anniversary of the UN Child Rights Convention [UNCRC] on the agenda. Contributions were made by 52 MEPs and their original texts are here.

On Thursday 27 November 2014, MEPs gave their explanations why they voted for or against the Resolution with their contributions here.


2015: INTERGROUP on CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

On 30 April 2015 an ‘intergroup’ on children’s rights announced this statement in the wake of the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention. The intergroup has now 75 members.


2016: SAFEGUARDING the BEST INTEREST of CHILDREN across EUROPE – Our Open Letter to Commissioner Jourova

Since the activities of MEPs in the spirit of the UN Convention on Child Rights, a similar procedure was carried out in the wake of 13 petitions from the UK to the EU Parliament, including ours to Abolish Adoptions without Parental Consent:

  1. a fact-finding visit by eight MEPs to London in November 2015;
  2. a report about the findings;
  3. a working group on Children’s Rights within the Petitions Committee;
  4. this Motion for a Resolution;
  5. this Plenary Debate on Safeguarding the best interest of the child (across borders) on 27 April 2016.

Where do we go from here? The conclusion of our letter says:

After experiences with hundreds of cases and the positive responses by MEPs in general and the PETI and JURI Committees in particular, this is therefore to ask you to concentrate in your revision of Brussels II on:

a. The setting up of specialised chambers in family courts, as suggested in the EU Press Release46 about the Plenary Debate:

i. To authorise Social Services to remove children only once parents have been convicted of a crime;

ii. In the spirit of the Resolution passed by Parliament, to distinguish between the parental responsibility of biological parents and the State grasping this undue responsibility for itself;

iii. Furthermore, to take into account the two Council of Europe reports:

i. The Parliamentary Assembly is concerned about the functioning of family courts in some member States of the Council of Europe, and especially about cases where children are taken away against the will of their parents and in violation of the right to respect for family life and the principle of a fair trial;

ii. Children ought to be separated from their parents only in very exceptional circumstances, subject to judicial review and in line with the requirements stemming from the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989;

iii. The Assembly therefore calls on member States to fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

i. the unwarranted complete severing of family ties;

ii. often in combination with removing children from parental care at birth,

iii. basing placement decisions on the effluxion of time

iv. and/or recourse to adoptions without parental consent.

b. Addressing the issue of jurisdiction of Member States over children of other Member States and beyond;

i. In the spirit of safeguarding children’s ‘best interests’, priority therefore needs to be put on preventing Social Services from removing children before legal proceedings even reach the state of interim or permanent placement, let alone forced adoptions;

c. Returning foreign children from Member States of the EU and the Council of Europe to their biological parents. This would include the reversal of placement and adoption orders:

i. Concerning foreign children whose consulates and embassies were not informed;

ii. Due to listening to UK children ‘screaming to be heard’;

iii. And responding to UK and foreign parents who have not committed any crimes and whose wills were overruled in secret Family Courts and the Court of Protection.

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Author: Sabine Kurjo McNeill

I'm a mathematician and system analyst formerly at CERN in Geneva and became an event organiser, software designer, independent web publisher and online promoter of Open Justice. My most significant scientific contribution is www.smartknowledge.space

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