1. The Committee on Social Affairs,
Health and Sustainable Development fully supports the draft resolution prepared
by the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination and congratulates
its rapporteur, Ms Françoise Hetto-Gaasch, on her wide-ranging explanatory
memorandum which takes children’s rights into account.
2. The committee wishes to emphasise that a parent’s right to
shared parental responsibility, joint custody or shared residence
for a child can never supersede the rights of the child concerned.
Every child has the right not to be separated from his or her parents,
and to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents
on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best
interests. A child who is capable of forming his or her own views
also has the right to express those views freely in all matters
affecting him or her, the views of the child being given due weight
in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. It is thus
not sufficient for parents themselves or the competent courts to
determine how parental responsibility, custody or the child’s residence
are to be shared – the views of the child concerned must be taken
into account and his or her best interests must be given primacy.
3. The Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development
wishes to propose only two amendments to the draft resolution, as
the Committee on Equality and Non‑Discrimination has, in general, mainstreamed
the child-rights perspective.