Petition update

Revising Brussels II - the Regulation that decides over the fate of children and families

Association of McKenzie Friends

May 11, 2016 — Dear Supporters,

First we travelled to Brussels, then we were at the "Children Screaming to be Heard" conference, and then we tried to absorb the Plenary Debate with contributions by 27 MEPs from 18 countries.

The results are now on www.McKNews.com - a new blog with a new focus - building on what we've achieved so far.

To get Brussels II revised PROPERLY, as well as getting it ADHERED to - in SPECIALISED chambers of the family courts across Europe - well, that's a goal worth working towards.

Hence our letter to EU Commissioner Vera Jourova which finishes with this 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:

a. The setting up of specialised chambers in family courts, as suggested in the EU Press Release 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:

• Human Rights and Family Courts written by Christopher Chope MP in 2012: http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=19220〈=EN
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.

• When is it ok to remove a child from his or her birth parents ? by Olga Borzova (Russia) in 2015, quoting what is standard in the UK but referred to as ‘abusive’ (page 12): http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/News/News-View-EN.asp?newsid=5397〈=2&cat=133
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.

The full 7-page letter is on this pdf file: https://mcknews.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/16-05-10-commissioner-vera-jourova1.pdf

Please make use of the information as 'ammunition', if you need to argue with anybody!

Until the next steps,

Belinda and Sabine

PS. The French version of the Debate is on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skAvMUFqUD4


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