The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights takes a look
at the functioning of family courts in Europe. It is especially
concerned about certain cases in which children have been withdrawn
from their family against the wishes of their biological parents,
in particular in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal
and the United Kingdom.
Children should only be separated from their biological parents
as a last resort, given that a family environment offers the best
conditions for the proper development of children. Children should
only be adopted or placed in care in accordance with the principles
established in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights, and the
courts should give priority to the child’s best interests. Member
States are also invited to give concrete assistance to families
in difficulty so as to reduce, insofar as possible, the number of
cases in which children are taken away from their parents.
Finally, member States are called upon to sign and/or ratify
all relevant Council of Europe conventions on the rights of children
and implement the 2010 Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers
of the Council of Europe on child-friendly justice.