Monday

Children Have A Right to A Relationship with Their Father. I'd Like to Thank Judge Robert Benjamin on Behalf of the U.N.

UPDATED!! AGAIN

Does watching child porn match you a bad father? Maybe, maybe not. But who'd like to bet their own children on it? Any volunteers?

No, seriously.

A father was convicted of child pornography offenses a couple of years ago.

His wife left him.

Subsequently, the father has been trying to get access to his children.

The court previously found that he had behaved inappropriately in bed with one of the children.

But JUDGE ROBERT BENJAMIN ordered that the two children, who are girls aged 8 and 10, spend weekends with their father.

Eldest daughter is afraid.

To facilitate the father's rights, JUDGE ROBERT BENJAMIN orders that:

1. the girls sleep in the same bedroom (to "support" each other), and
2. the father place a lock on the bedroom door for the girls
3. the father have an adult friend stay overnight when the girls are present

Additionally, some UNNAMED Family Court counselor has stated that the girls don't pose a risk to the father, at their current ages, when they are awake, clothed, and together.

How considerate.

Think I'm kidding? See article here.


A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Article 3 (Best interests of the child): The best interests of children must be the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. This particularly applies to budget, policy and law makers.

Article 4 (Protection of rights): Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. When countries ratify the Convention, they agree to review their laws relating to children. This involves assessing their social services, legal, health and educational systems, as well as levels of funding for these services. Governments are then obliged to take all necessary steps to ensure that the minimum standards set by the Convention in these areas are being met. They must help families protect children’s rights and create an environment where they can grow and reach their potential. In some instances, this may involve changing existing laws or creating new ones. Such legislative changes are not imposed, but come about through the same process by which any law is created or reformed within a country. Article 41 of the Convention points out the when a country already has higher legal standards than those seen in the Convention, the higher standards always prevail.

Article 5 (Parental guidance): Governments should respect the rights and responsibilities of families to direct and guide their children so that, as they grow, they learn to use their rights properly. Helping children to understand their rights does not mean pushing them to make choices with consequences that they are too young to handle. Article 5 encourages parents to deal with rights issues "in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child". The Convention does not take responsibility for children away from their parents and give more authority to governments. It does place on governments the responsibility to protect and assist families in fulfilling their essential role as nurturers of children.

Article 6 (Survival and development): Children have the right to live. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.

Article 9 (Separation from parents): Children have the right to live with their parent(s), unless it is bad for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child.

Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child): When adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account. This does not mean that children can now tell their parents what to do. This Convention encourages adults to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making -- not give children authority over adults. Article 12 does not interfere with parents' right and responsibility to express their views on matters affecting their children. Moreover, the Convention recognizes that the level of a child’s participation in decisions must be appropriate to the child's level of maturity. Children's ability to form and express their opinions develops with age and most adults will naturally give the views of teenagers greater weight than those of a preschooler, whether in family, legal or administrative decisions.

Article 19 (Protection from all forms of violence): Children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them. In terms of discipline, the Convention does not specify what forms of punishment parents should use. However any form of discipline involving violence is unacceptable. There are ways to discipline children that are effective in helping children learn about family and social expectations for their behaviour – ones that are non-violent, are appropriate to the child's level of development and take the best interests of the child into consideration. In most countries, laws already define what sorts of punishments are considered excessive or abusive. It is up to each government to review these laws in light of the Convention.

Article 34 (Sexual exploitation): Governments should protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. This provision in the Convention is augmented by the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Article 36 (Other forms of exploitation): Children should be protected from any activity that takes advantage of them or could harm their welfare and development.

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This case is one of many, internationally, involving fathers' rights to their children. We can't all be lying.
In the words of Judge Robert Lemkau (California):

And you have an ex parte request calendared for tomorrow which I am advancing today. One of you is lying, and I am very concerned...


...I am inclined to deny you ex parte request. I feel that, if you're lying, there's going to be adverse consequences...

...I'm denying your request, ma'am. I think— there's insufficient evidence in my mind...

...Well, ma'am, there's a real dispute about whether that's even true or not...

...I'm going to deny it, ma'am. My suspicion is that you're lying, but I'm going to keep the custody orders in full force and effect...

...I reviewed it and that's why I'm -- my supposition, ma'am, is that you're lying, but if I'm incorrect, you can always bring another ex parte motion but don't misrepresent the situation. If you're lying about this, there's going to be adverse consequences. My supposition is that you are lying...