Children Not For Sale – The Black Hole of our Culture @EU #EU @coe @MoJGovUK #Brexit

The event at the EU Parliament was aptly called

It was organised by the amazing Greek MEP Kostadinka Kuneva and Takis Hadjigeorgiou MEP for Cyprus.

Two panels of speakers united a remarkable list of individuals and organisations:

  1. Dimitrios Papadimoulos MEP for Greece and Vice-President of the EU Parliament spoke from the floor;
  2. Mrs SAKELLIADOU Zoi, Office of the EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, European Commission [12:25 until 28:41]
  3. Mrs VONKEMAN Andrea, UNHCR Brussels Office
  4. Mrs NANOU Katerina, EUROCHILD campaign leader
  5. Mrs POULI Ioanna, UNICEF, Brussels Office
  6. Mrs McNEILL Sabine Kurjo, Web Publisher of the Association of McKenzie Friends and Petitioner 1707/2013
  7. Mrs SCHEFFER Elisabeth, Legal expert, Sweden
  8. Mr NIKOLAIDIS Giorgos, Head of Institute of Child Health, Greece
  9. Dr STAVRINIDES Panayiotis, Assistant Professor in Developmental Psychology-University of Cyprus
  10. Mrs CHRISTIDOU Melpo, Social Worker at THE SMILE OF THE CHILD, Greece.

However, the emphasis was on problems rather than solutions – but then there are far too few people who know about the problems!

The very pleasant surprise was the very well informed contribution by the Policy Analyst of the Child Trafficking Office at the EU Commission. Continue reading “Children Not For Sale – The Black Hole of our Culture @EU #EU @coe @MoJGovUK #Brexit”

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@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.

Continue reading “@coe @ChildrensRights @EUParliament for @EU_Commission”

@EU #EU Letter to Commissioner @VeraJourova re Safeguarding the Best Interest of Children across Europe #teamJunckerEU

16 05 11 Vera JourovaThe Plenary Debate of the EU Parliament on Children’s Rights on 27 April 2016 was addressed at the EU Commission and the EU Council.

Commissioner Vera Jourova responded and promised a revised version of the Brussels II Regulation by June.

Here’s our input:

  1. the full 7-page letter;
  2. its conclusion:

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: Continue reading “@EU #EU Letter to Commissioner @VeraJourova re Safeguarding the Best Interest of Children across Europe #teamJunckerEU”

@coe @EU #EU Kids’ best interests must come first in cross-border custody cases, urge #MEPs

16 04 28 EU Press ReleaseForwarded from the Press Service of the EU Parliament:

Press release – 28-04-2016

Plenary session / Citizens’ rights / Justice and home affairs

Kids’ best interests must come first in cross-border custody cases, urge MEPs

It is children who pay the price when EU member states fail to cooperate and protect children’s best interests in legal proceedings such as cross-border parental custody disputes and adoption decisions, Parliament points out in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs want specialised chambers within EU countries family courts to ensure more swiftly processed transnational cases.

“There is a need for more cooperation in family matters with cross-border aspects. Our aim is not to impose a single vision of how to handle family conflicts or deal with child welfare issues, but to ensure that the freedom of persons within the Union works in practice, also when it is related to family matters”, said Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), chair of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee, which tabled the resolution after receiving hundreds of petitions on various child-related cases from across the EU.

Continue reading “@coe @EU #EU Kids’ best interests must come first in cross-border custody cases, urge #MEPs”

@EU #EU Press Release MEPs INVESTIGATE CHILD-SNATCHING SCANDAL in UK @Europarl_en @coe @euronews #EPlenary @EU_Commission @TimmermansEU @PA

MEPs INVESTIGATE CHILD-SNATCHING SCANDAL in UK

13 Petitions lead to a Plenary Debate on Wednesday 27 April 2016, 6 – 7pm UK time

Protecting the best interest of the child (across borders) in Europe[1] is on the agenda of the next Plenary Debate in Brussels on Wednesday 27 April.

The debate stems from the complaint of twelve individual petitioners regarding their children’s loss of mother tongue and their abusive placement with foster carers, as well as from the petition by the Association of McKenzie Friends requesting the Abolition of Adoptions without Parental Consent[2]. The debate will cover Questions with Oral Answer:

  • to the EU Council[3] – the Ministers of all 28 Member States;
  • and the EU Commission[4] – the administration in the background of elected Parlamentarians;
  • as well as a Motion for a Resolution[5] on safeguarding the best interests of the child across the EU on the basis of petitions addressed to the EU Parliament.

With 5,700 signatures online, petition 1707/2013 [6] was first presented in Brussels on 19 March 2014[7] by a delegation of 30 parents. The trip resulted in this article in The Telegraph:

Continue reading “@EU #EU Press Release MEPs INVESTIGATE CHILD-SNATCHING SCANDAL in UK @Europarl_en @coe @euronews #EPlenary @EU_Commission @TimmermansEU @PA”

@Europarl_en Blowing the Trumpet to STOP #ChildSnatchUK and #ForcedAdoption #EPlenary

Victims Unite!

A 19 minute conversation between two women mathematicians: Sabine as German EU Petitioner about Child-Snatching and Forced Adoptions in the UK and Tatjana Zdanoka, MEP for Latvia and member of the Petitions Committee.

Please note Christopher Booker’s article shortly after that first presentation:

The reason for visiting the EU Parliament this time was the fact that three petitions regarding child rights were scheduled to be heard.

In particular, the one by 40 lawyers from Nordic countries:

But it was also important to get up to speed with the Plenary Debate that will take place on Wednesday 27 April:

Here are

16 04 20 Motion for ResolutionAnd this is the Motion for a Resolution on safeguarding the…

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Analysis of Report on Fact Finding Visit to London in November 2015 by Eight MEPs

Here are the underlying trends derived from official statistics, including adoptions, apparently 96% forced…mxtdpaxnbwytzvl-800x450-nopad

Click on the image to get the full 15-page report.

Here is the Table of Contents so that you can appreciate the comprehensiveness of the approach, based on 12 petitions including ours (1707/2013):

INTRODUCTION

Petitions

Summary account of meetings

The visit

Personal testimonies

Authorities and organisations involved in child protection

Diplomatic services of other EU Member States

Legal authorities

Political authorities

I. About statistics and the underlying reasons for high numbers of adoption

The high level of non-consensual adoption cases and its increase

  • cases involving non-national parents

II. About the intervention of the social services and charities

  • victims of domestic violence
  • young parents
  • About kinship foster carer
  • Parents in need of information and advice at an early stage
  • Section 20 of the Children Act 1989
  • the real understanding of parents
  • separation of siblings

III. About the judicial proceedings

  • secrecy of the proceedings
  • the difficulties in accessing documents
  • the timescale of the care proceedings
  • 26 weeks
  • proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998
  • The issue of Legal Aid
    • quality of Legal Aid
    • cases involving foreign families
    • compliance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963)
  • transfer of jurisdiction
    • Article 15 of Brussels IIa 
    • the welfare checklist
    • the child’s national, cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious background

Conclusions

Sir James Munby: “Nobody has ever succeeded in persuading either the Strasbourg Court of the EU Court of Justice that our domestic adoption law is not compliant with both the Convention and the Charter.”

Julie Haines: “If other European countries can make different plans for children, then so can the United Kingdom.”

Florence Bellone: “The artificial stability that these children will get from care and adoption will never compensate, especially in the long term, the destruction of their family by a legal time bomb.”

The 15 recommendations are published here.

And here are my comments so that you may benefit from my experience based on quite a few trips to Brussels.

GOOD Points:

  1. Page 1:
    • the increase in the number of petitions from non-UK parents;
    • the Council of Europe report is ALSO quoted, not only the ‘institutional whitewash’, as former MP called the report commissioned on ‘Adoptions without Parental Consent’;
  2. Page 2: in addition to our petition that covers the SYSTEMIC aspect, there are two groups of individual petitions:
    • the loss of the use of their mother tongue,
    • abusive placement of children without consent.
  3. Page 2: Florence Bellone who has been acting as a McKenzie Friend in some 200 cases was heard and thus the term ‘McKenzie Friend’ was introduced correctly;
  4. Page 3: The personal testimonies were ‘nicely’ representative on behalf of the parents as VICTIMS: Florence Bellone, Lucy Allan MP, former MP John Hemming, Julie Haines as ‘legal adviser’ of Justice for Families.
  5. Page 4: A pretty good ‘spread’ over the authorities and organisations involved in child ‘protection’ – but no MEP could suspect the underlying POLICY:
    • Anthony Douglas, Head of CAFCASS
    • Sheila Pankhania-Collins, Children’s Guardian
    • Cathy Ashley and Bridget Lindley, Family Rights Group
    • Steve Williams, Detective Superintendent in the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command;
    • Inspector Jim Cook, Emergency Response Policing Team;
    • Anthony McKeown, Detective Inspector in charge of the Camden & Islington Child Abuse and Investigation Team;
    • Bridget Robb, CEO British Association of Social Workers;
    • Susannah Daus, Islington Social Services.
  6. Page 5: VERY good that Diplomatic services of two EU Member States were included: two representatives each from Latvia and Bulgaria.
  7. Page 5: This is also pretty representative, but hardly biased ‘our way’: Legal authorities
    • Sir James Munby
    • Naomi Angell, Law Society
    • Dorothy Simon, Law Society
    • Martha Cover, Association of Lawyers for Children.
  8. Page 5: Political authorities
  9. Page 5: I. About statistics and the underlying reasons for high numbers of adoption
    • Sir James Munby: “complete collision on a very fundamental level:” too many too fast vs not enough, not fast enough…
  10. Page 6: VERY interesting that the trend towards adoption as ‘gold standard’ was emphasised by John Hemming and Julie Haines!
    • not surprisingly, authorities always blame not enough time and / or money;
    • adoption is seen as ‘social rise’ in British culture!?…
    • cases involving non-national parents needs to be our next emphasis, it seems, especially as Sir James uses ‘poor statistics’ as an excuse!
    • we are used to Anthony Douglas pushing and defending his agenda which innocent MEPs could hardly detect;
  11. Page 8: About kinship foster carers – the OBVIOUS solution never followed BECAUSE the agenda / policy is NOT the Best Interest of the Child!
    • Parents in need of information and advice at an early stage.
  12. Page 9: Section 20 of the Children Act 1989 is apparently abused as a pretext for child snatching: when there is a crisis in the family home… But we know that ‘risk of future emotional harm’ is the most frequently used reason.

BAD POINTS:

      1. Page 1: the ‘Brief overview of the process of removal‘ does NOT reflect the violence with which children are often removed WITHOUT any paper work, let alone valid reasons;
      2. Page 2: the online petition has 5,700 not 2,500 signatures by now.
      3. Page 5: ‘fresh onlookers’ cannot suspect the hypocrisy behind the words: the fact that Children’s Guardians do NOT represent the interest of the child, for example and that the Family Rights Group does NOT represent the interest of families either; why would groups such as Justice for Families and the Association of McKenzie Friends have become necessary otherwise?
        • the high level of non-consensual adoptions and its increase – doesn’t give the REAL reasons that John Hemming isolated: it’s policy!
      4. Page 7: Regarding non-UK parents, Sir James obviously needs to be reminded of the report on Non-UK Kids in UK Care.
      5. Page 7: The intervention by Social Services
        • covers domestic violence and young parents, kinship foster  carers – but not quite as drastic as the conclusions we have come to from the far more cases than the Petitions Committee has heard of (13).
      6. Page 8: to talk about ‘court scrutiny’ starts from the assumption that ‘the system’ operates according to GOOD and WELL MEANING principles, but to realise the opposite, takes HUNDREDS of cases, not just 13 petitions.

OPEN QUESTIONS

  1. How many of the 1,000 parents a month [1 child every 20 minutes] do get EFFECTIVE advice from the Family Rights Group?
  2. Is there an automatic referral in place?
  3. How many MEPs see the difference between ‘custody’ cases where parents fight over a child and the State taking on ‘corporate parentability’?
  4. What does it take to change POLICY:
    • to get a Labour Government in?
    • to leave the EU?
    • more and more social media exposure?
    • more and more petitions to the UK Government via your MP?
    • more and more petitions to the EU Parliament via the Petitions Committee?
    • as a minimum, parents could write up their experiences on http://www.storyboard.com
    • re-definitions and the matching re-0rganisation of democratic structures and democratic processes, methinks…

 

No Punishment without Crime or Bereavement without Death!

16 04 19 Fact Finding ReportIf you click on the image you also get the full 15-page report.

And these are the recommendations:

1. Relevant statistics should be collected in order to offer a better overview of the issues related not only to non-consensual adoptions and binational cases but also more generally to family law, enabling comparisons between the EU Member States;

2. National family courts should systematically implement the Vienna Convention of 1963 on Consular Relations and articles 15 and 55 of the Regulation EC n° 2201/2003 (Brussels II a) at the earliest stage of the child care proceedings and make sure that embassies or consular representations are informed in a timely manner of cases involving their nationals; specific detailed guidelines should be provided for a more efficient implementation of these provisions;

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