NEW YORK/GENEVA – On 1 June the United Nations observes the Global Day of Parents. It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2012 in order to honour parents throughout the world “for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.”
“At a time when more and more people seem to be seeking individual fulfilment, it is important to highlight the value of the self-sacrificial love that parents around the world have for their children. It is vital that our societies remind themselves of the significance to future generations of devoted parental care,” said Paul Coleman, Deputy Director for ADF International.
At the fore for the family
ADF International advocates for parental and family rights on an international level at institutions such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization of American States. Its lawyers are also active at the European Court of Human Rights, regularly advocating for fathers and mothers who have seen their right to family life violated, for example, in Johansson v. Sweden and S. v. UK. In the latter case, the UK Supreme Court removed a 15 month-old child from her mother and granted custody to the sperm donor and his boyfriend. Despite the Court finding that the mother was able to care well for her child, her parenting choices – such as breastfeeding and co-sleeping – were criticised by the judge who allowed her only two hours of contact every two weeks.
In the other matter, Swedish authorities removed the only child from the Johansson family, who had been home-schooling their boy. .The Johanssons have now not been allowed to see their boy in more than five years. This is an extreme interference in their family life, especially given the fact that a district court has acknowledged the ability on the part of the parents to satisfactorily care for their child.
European countries should respect human rights
“Every child deserves to be raised by his or her mother and father. The European Convention on Human Rights requires the cutting of that bond to be the nuclear last resort. In some cases, it seems to be the government’s first resort and so we are inviting the European Court of Human Rights to intervene,” said Robert Clarke, Director of European Advocacy for ADF International.
“International law holds that children should grow up in an environment where their family ties are maintained, allowing them to enjoy the love, support, and nurturing of their natural parents.”