25 April 2009

Freedom and Children's Rights


In a time of carnations and odes to freedom, we can not forget how much is still left to do, namely in the protection of children.

by Gonçalo Amaral

The criminal law does not protect children, they are being left to sleep alone, while the parents get drunk at social gatherings, falling from windows and balconies like ripe fruit, or drying inside vehicles without the according penal sanction occurring.

When the main source of risk and danger is inside the home or the family, the law seems to forget a fundamental right of the child: security.

The UN Declaration on Children's Rights [see below*] is clear: "The child should grow supported by parents and under their responsibility, in an environment of affection and security."

The crime of abandonment or exposure is inadequate*, one should criminalize the mere negligence in custody in order to recognize and safeguard the children's right to safety.

Then, there would be no more doubts about the scope of the application of the criminal law, thus preventing relaxed tourists from abandoning our country, without any consequences, after neglecting the custody of their children, night after night, and now walking freely around the media stages.


Source: Correio da Manhã


* in Declaration of the Rights of the Child Principle 6

The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.

* Gonçalo Amaral refers to Article 138 of the Portuguese Penal Code, which covers the crimes of exposure or abandonment. Portuguese law only punishes exposure or abandonment if intent exists, i.e. it has to be proved that the caretaker was aware of the danger that the person under his/her vigilance was subject to. In practical terms, this annihilates any possibility of a criminal accusation when ‘simple’ neglect takes place.



6 comments:

  1. “She did, she brought it up and that she, I mean, this is awful in retrospect as well, she asked what my opinion was on, erm, tut, on whether they were okay leaving the, the doors unlocked, because she was saying ‘Is it better that if Madeleine wakes up she can get out and find us or’, erm, ‘or locking it and, you know, finding that we’re not there and the door’s locked if she woke up’, because Madeleine had woken up, what I thought was the night before. Erm, tut, and it was in that context really, just asking, you know, what I thought. So it was obviously something that was on her mind a bit, huh”.

    Fiona Payne, citing Kate McCann in her statement to the Leicestershire Police.

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  2. Kazlux
    The mccann woman KNOWS it: there is intent and she must be punished for this.Clearer than F.payne"s statement there is not.
    "There was obviously something on her mind"....neglect AND intent of neglect
    It makes me mad

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  3. Good God Kazlux I have nor read that before...

    Is it better she can get out and find us??? really safe at the top of concrete steps that leads onto a main road and then to navigate her way down a small path to reception through it and on until she finds her parents at the Tapas bar and all in the dark???

    I wonder if Fiona said this to tell us all that Madeleine was able to wake up to prove she was not sedated???

    It get's worse the more I read Oprah had researchers and anyone with half a brain can see something is not right...

    Oprah is known for her support of abuse victims from children to adults if she panders to the McCann's and thinks it is fine for Kate to have a good cry but know she never answered a single question on behalf of her child then she may as well pull out of any charity work with children as she suports parents who say their child is missing because they neglected her and have done everything in their power not to help the police...

    If my child were missing I would spend the rest of my life in jail if it ment people were still searching for her and the truth was being told.

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  4. Article 138 stinks( as does most of our "penal" code...)!
    Not one single negligent parent will ever admitt intent to harm, and yet, in some cases the parents( usually the mother) have been brought to justice, but of course, mainly the poor, uneducted and disadvantaged ones, mothers who had no other option but to leave the children alone in order to go to work and earn a living, to put food on the table! Many times the younger siblings were left under the care of an older one, sometimes as young as 8 or 9 years old, far too young to be in charge of him/herself, let alone his/her's siblings! That's a recurrent problem in our country, justice can be swift and hard as rocks, but only for the under dog...

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  5. O Blog Joana Morais foi laureada com o premio Manifesto dos Jovens que Pensam. Parabens e um bom fiom de semana

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  6. There is a note on every single patio door of the Ocean's Club warning parents to watch their children on the balcony and not to place furniture close to the balustrade. They look quite new. There is no such warning at the children's room windows....

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