30 November 2011

Family rights

In previous sections concerning basic rights, I strove to take over as much convenient provisions from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as possible – for it is a basic document dedicated to human rights from which other documents (international conventions, regulations of constitutions) are derivated and provisions of which are brief, nevertheless apposite and having their validity to this day although they require additions sometimes. Alike in this post concerning family rights, I take over four provisions of the Universal Declarations and add to them three other provisions relating to rights of children (that is a topic importance of which increased since 1945). I want make a remark in addition that this circle of rights could be incorporated into social rights but I set them aside separately.

The first provision, labeled under the letter (a), is taken over from the paragraph 3, article 16 of the Universal Declaration. It is an appropriate introductory provision, it speaks about family as a fundamental unit of society. I believe that it is not necessary to add something to it.

The second provision is taken by me also from the article 16 of the Universal Declaration, now from its first paragraph. It says that men and women, if they are adult, have a right to marry and to found a family without any discrimination and that both have the same rights in establishing the marriage and at it dissolution. It is also almost pointless to add something to this provision: it guarantees that nobody is denied to establish family (as it occurred in dictatorial states) and guarantees equal rights to men and women who used to be disadvantaged earlier. Reading this provision it occurred to me that its wording offers no specific attitude to a question of same-sex marriages that has been often solved in various parts of the world just through constitutional regulations (mostly by ban on such marriages). It is possible that the wording taken over from the Universal Declaration (that did not take existence of such marriage into account) would appear insufficiently preventing same-sex marriages in eyes of their dissenters but I believe that a European constitution should be open for both possibilities in this question and that the matter should be concluded either in the member states separately or in the concrete political practice in the course of existence of the European federation.

My suggestion of the following provision – the letter (c) – is again literally taken over from the Universal Declaration, from its article 16, paragraph 2. According to it marriage shall be founded only with the free and full consent of both spouses. It is again a provision to that anything can hardly be added – it is expression of liberty of every person to decide whether it wants enter into marriage or not and with whom.

The following letter (d) of my suggestion is the prime provision that concerns children. This provision is still (literally) taken from the Universal Declaration (from the article 25, paragraph 2). According to this provision extramarital children should have equal rights as children born in marriage. But the provision specifies not what rights belong to both groups of children (the rest of the second paragraph of the article 25, not taken over by me, speaks about special care and assistance that belongs to childhood which is also unspecified). By that reason and because more attention is paid to children rights since 1945, I completed the previous provision with with three other suggestions that are absent in the Universal Declaration. Two of these provisions come from the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which manifests that rights of a child are fairly well expressed in it which somewhat contrasts with not very proper protection of social rights in it.

The suggestion of letter (e) is literally taken over from the Charter of Rights, from the first paragraph of the article 24. It says that children have a right to care necessary for their well-being and to free expression of their view.

I took over (as the letter (g)) also the third paragraph of the same article 24 of the Charter of Rights that determines rights of a child to be in touch with both parents unless it is contrary to interests of it. This provision can be understood in two ways: on the one hand as a common appeal that a child should grow with both parents, on the other hand as an appeal that a child should be enabled to keep touch with both parents after they have divorced. I comprehended it in the second sense, so I completed it with one more provision:
Suggestion of the letter (f) is literally taken from the constitution of Portugal (article 36, paragraph 6). It says that children cannot be separated from their parents save that the parents meet not obligations towards them and that the separation must be based on a judicial decision. These specifications are absent in the Charter of Right, even though the third paragraph of its article 24 had the same meaning as the quoted provision of the Portuguese constitution.

That is all what I wanted to involve in the section of familial rights. I will publish its specific constitutional wording after publishing remaining three groups of rights, namely property rights, cultural rights and concluding section about enforcing the rights.