The members of the Working Group CHILD from 6 SPCs (Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia) met in Sofia (Bulgaria) on the 8th-10th May of 2018 for a training session on the application by religious and secular judges of the international norms concerning the best interests of the child. The Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr. Stoyanov, and two representatives of the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice participated in the seminar.
This activity, organised under the auspices of the Bulgarian presidency, is part of EuroMed Justice’s efforts on the protection of the child best interests in the resolution of cross-border family conflicts. The Working Group Child had already met twice last year and a EuroMed Comparative Study on the application by religious and secular judges of the international norms concerning the best interests of the child has been drafted under this framework with the support of four short-term experts.
This training seminar was divided into two main sessions. The first one dealt with the international norms and jurisprudence on the best interests of the child and their concrete application to national cases. It generated useful discussions on the tensions between universalist and relativist tendencies that may arise and on the necessity to establish criteria on the best interests of the child at national level.
As for the second session, it aimed to disseminate the content of the EuroMed Comparative Study and therefore focused on the situation at national level. The legal and institutional framework of the 8 SPCs concerned relating to custody, visitation/contact rights, or cross-border abduction/wrongful removal by one parent were presented and widely discussed. It was also the occasion to benefit from best practices.
The participants praised the EuroMed Comparative Study and recommended to ensure its widest possible dissemination among justice professionals:
“The Comparative Study will be a very handy tool for jurists in general and for judges to assess the best interests of the child in particular”, one member of the Algerian delegation said.
Finally, the usefulness of the Hague children conventions was underlined as a means to facilitate the resolution of cross-border family conflicts.
EuroMed Justice is managed by a consortium led by FIIAPP (Fundación Internacional y para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Publicas, Spain) in partnership with CILC (Center for International Legal Cooperation, the Netherlands), EIPA (European Institute of Public Administration, the Netherlands) and JCI (Justice Coopération Internationale, France).
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