Showing posts with label Law and Justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Law and Justice. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Brown University Programs Committee Activities and International Studies

The president’s charge to the steering committee had two dimensions. Our primary task was to
examine the University’s historical entanglement with slavery and the slave trade and to report our findings openly and truthfully. But we were also asked to reflect on the meaning of this history in the present, on the complex historical, political, legal, and moral questions posed by any present day confrontation with past injustice. In particular, the president asked the committee “to organize academic events and activities that might help the nation and the Brown community think deeply, seriously, and rigorously about the questions raised” by the national debate over reparations for slavery. Reparations, she noted, was a highly controversial subject, presenting “problems about which men and women of good will may ultimately disagree,” but it was also a subject on which Brown, in light of its own history, had “a special obligation and a special opportunity to provide thoughtful inquiry.”

In her letter of charge and in a public statement following the announcement of the committee’s appointment, the president stressed that the committee would not determine whether or how Brown might pay monetary reparations, nor did she expect it to forge a consensus on the reparations question. Its object, rather, was “to provide factual information and critical perspectives to deepen understanding” and enrich debate on an issue that had aroused great public passion but little constructive public dialogue.
The steering committee has endeavored to fulfill this charge. Members of the committee, assisted by other Brown faculty as well as by undergraduate and graduate student researchers, gathered information about Brown’s past, drawing on both published sources and various historical archives. The committee also sponsored more than thirty public programs, including scholarly lectures, panel discussions, forums, film screenings, and two international conferences exploring the experience of other societies and institutions that have grappled with legacies of historical injustice. In all, we entertained more than a hundred distinguished speakers, ranging from Professor John Hope Franklin, who discussed his tenure as chairman of One America, President Clinton’s short-lived national commission on race, to Beatrice Fernando, a slavery survivor from Sri Lanka, who spoke on the problem of human trafficking today. The committee is currently preparing a selection of these presentations for publication in a scholarly anthology.

The steering committee also organized programs and activities beyond the University’s gates. Committee members addressed community groups and participated in workshops for local teachers and students. A museum exhibition about the Sally, mounted by undergraduate research students working with the committee, is currently touring public libraries across the state. The exhibition, “Navigating the Past: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally, 1764-1765,” has also been exhibited at the John Brown House, the historic home of one of the ship’s owners, and at the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda in St. John’s, Antigua, the final destination of surviving captives from the ship. Members of the committee also collaborated with the Choices Program, a curricular development group affiliated with Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies, to write and publish a high school curriculum, “A Forgotten History:

The Slave Trade and Slavery in New England.” With the support of the office of President Simmons, the committee was able to donate copies of the curriculum to every high school history and social studies classroom in Rhode Island.

The report that follows represents the culmination of the committee’s work. It contains three sections, reflecting the different elements of the president’s charge. The first focuses on history, exploring different aspects of the University’s relationship to slavery. This section reveals the complicity of many of the University’s founders and benefactors in slavery and the slave trade, and outlines some of the direct benefits that accrued to the University. Yet it also seeks to do more. Brown’s formative decades coincided with many of the signal events in America’s tortuous racial history: the peak of thetransatlantic slave trade and the appearance of a popular movement decrying the trade as criminal; the birth of a new nation, dedicated to the proposition that all people were created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights, and the emergence of racist ideologies insisting that people were not equally created or endowed; the gradual abolition of slavery in the northern states and the rapid expansion of the institution in the South.

Brown University was shaped by all of these developments, and members of the campus community, including students, vigorously debated their meaning and significance. We are not the first members of the Brown community to confront our University’s historical complicity in slavery and the slave trade or to debate our own responsibilities in light of it.

History Brown University Family Clock of Admiral Esek Hopkins in Justice

Let us begin with a clock. In 2003, Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons appointed a Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice to investigate and issue a public report on the University’s historical relationship to slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Since that time, the committee, which includes faculty, students, and administrators, has met periodically in an office on the second floor of University Hall, the oldest building on the Brown campus. In the corner of the office stands an antique clock. A silver plaque on the cabinet identifies it as “The Family Clock of Admiral Esek Hopkins.” Built in the 1750s by a local craftsman, Samuel Rockwell, the clock was donated to Brown in the 1850s by Hopkins’s granddaughter. Such artifacts and heirlooms abound on the campus, and it took several months for committee members to notice the clock or to recognize its significance.


Though less celebrated than his older brother Stephen, a colonial governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Esek Hopkins is a well-known figure in Rhode Island history. A Providence ship captain, he served as the first commander-in-chief of the United States Navy during the American Revolution. After the war, he was elected to the state legislature. Like his brother, he was a strong supporter of Brown, then known as the College of Rhode Island, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1782 to 1802. His memory is enshrined today in several public sites in Providence, including the Esek Hopkins Middle School, Esek Hopkins Park (which includes a statue of him in naval uniform), and Admiral Street, where his old house still stands.

There is another aspect of Esek Hopkins’s story, unmentioned on any of the existing memorials. In 1764, the year that the College of Rhode Island was founded, Hopkins sailed to West Africa in command of a slave ship, a one-hundred-ton brigantine called the Sally. The Sally was owned by
Nicholas Brown and Company, a partnership of four brothers, Nicholas, John, Joseph, and Moses Brown. Prominent Providence merchants, the Browns were also important benefactors of the college, playing a leading role in relocating the school from its original home in Warren, Rhode Island, to its current location in Providence. (In 1804, the College of Rhode Island changed its name to Brown University, in recognition of a gift from Nicholas’s son, Nicholas Jr.) There was nothing unusual about a slave ship departing from Rhode Island. Rhode Islanders dominated the North American share of the African slave trade, mounting over a thousand slaving voyages in the century before the abolition of the trade in 1807 (and scores more illegal voyages thereafter).


The Sally’s voyage was deadlier than most. At least 109 of the196 Africans that Hopkins purchased on behalf of the Browns perished, some in a failed insurrection, the balance through disease, suicide, and starvation. The records of the venture, from the fitting out of the ship in August 1764 to the sale of surviving captives on the West Indian island of Antigua fifteen months later, are housed in a library on the Brown campus, though few have troubled to look at them, at least until recently.


We shall return to the voyage of the Sally, an episode of considerable significance in the lives of the Brown brothers, three of whom seem never again to have invested directly in transatlantic slaving voyages. But let us return first to the clock. What should the University do with it, now that we know more about its origins? Is it appropriate to display it? Should we remove the plaque honoring Esek Hopkins? Attach another plaque? We are obviously speaking metaphorically here, but the underlying questions could not be more direct. How are we, as members of the Brown community, as Rhode Islanders, and as citizens and residents of the United States, to make sense of our complex history? How do we reconcile those elements of our past that are gracious and honorable with those that provoke grief and horror? What responsibilities, if any, rest upon us in the present as inheritors of this mixed legacy? The Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice represents one institution’s confrontation with these questions.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Encyclical on Social Justice

The long-missing specific and direct act of Social Justice is used as the title of the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno: “On the Reconstruction of Social Order.” This title occurs in the heading of the Letter; the words “Quadragesimo anno,” being simply the first two words of the Letter itself. This document is a truly masterly treatise on the whole virtue of Social Justice, though the applications of the theory are made mostly to the economic order, which is only one aspect, though a “most important” one, of social life.

The term “Social Justice” is used ten times in this encyclical, and there are many other passages where the same idea occurs, but without the technical name. Yet very few commentators seem to have realized that this is the subject, and the most important point, of the Papal teaching. They discuss the living wage, the family wage*, property, labor, capitalism, competition, monopoly, class war, Communism all the details that are used for explanation and illustration but miss the great subject of the whole Encyclical! It would be a very salutary practice to refer always to the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno as “The Encyclical on Social Justice.” Thus attention would be drawn to the central idea, instead of to the supporting details and illustrations.


Common Misunderstanding

Let us give an example of how the Encyclical’s great message can be misunderstood. In paragraph 71, the Holy Father says:

Every effort must therefore be made that fathers of families receive a wage large enough to meet common domestic needs adequately. But if this cannot always be done under existing circumstances, Social Justice demands that changes be introduced into the system as soon as possible, whereby such a wage will be assured to every adult workingman.

Now if we were to hand this quotation to a number of people, and ask each one of them what Social Justice demands in it, almost every one of them would answer, “A family wage.” They would all be wrong! Look again at the syntax of the sentence: the direct object of the predicate “demands” is the clause “that changes be introduced into the system.” The Pope’s teaching on the family wage is that it is due in commutative or strict justice to the individual worker; what Social Justice demands is something specifically social: the reorganization of the system. For it is the whole system which is badly organized (“socially unjust”) when it withholds from the human beings whose lives are bound up in it, the power to “meet common domestic needs adequately.”

Very Clear Teaching

The Holy Father later summarized the teaching of Quadragesimo Anno in several paragraphs of Divini Redemptoris (“On Atheistic Communism”). In Paragraph 53 of this latter document he gives a very clear example for his teachings:
 

It happens all too frequently, under the salary system, that individual employers are helpless to insure justice, unless, with a view to its practice, they organize institutions whose object is to prevent competition incompatible with fair treatment of the workers. Where this is true, it is the duty of contractors and employers to support such necessary organizations as normal instruments enabling them to fulfill their obligations of justice.

Here the two levels of justice are clearly distinguished. On the level of commutative or individual justice the employer is helpless, and note that this happens “all too frequently.” Now evidently,
if he is really helpless to do full justice, he does not sin when out of sheer necessity he falls short of justice. In individual justice the case is closed, for the employer can do nothing about it; and the injustice must be allowed to continue out of sheer inability to stop it.


Above this field of individual justice, however, there is the whole field of Social Justice, and in this higher field the case is never closed. The “helplessness” of individuals comes from the fact that the whole industry is badly organized (“socially unjust”). Social Justice demands that it be organized rightly for the Common Good of all who depend upon it for their welfare and perfection. Therefore employers have the duty the rigid duty of Social Justice which they cannot disregard without sin to work together (socially) to reorganize their industry. Once this reorganization (act of Social Justice) has been accomplished by group (social) action, then the employers will no longer be helpless in the field of individual justice, and will be under obligation to meet their strict duties in this latter field.

Something Solid

From the example given by the Holy Father, it will be seen immediately that Social Justice is not at all the vague and fuzzy “blanket word” that gets into so many popular speeches. It is an absolutely clear and precise scientific concept, a special virtue with definite and rigid obligations of its own. But there is no use looking to anyone earlier than Pope Pius XI for a definition and description of it complete enough to include the specific act (organizing) by which Social Justice is directly practiced. There are suggestions and partial glimpses, of course, in every work that ever dealt with social problems; but if anyone before Pope Pius XI ever put all the pieces together in one coherent theory, he has succeeded in keeping his secret remarkably well!

Justice and Law Philosophical Detective Story

The principles which he had already clarified in his own mind, and intended to apply to the rapidly changing drama of modern history, were Social Justice and Social Charity. In this view, all society is simply a habitual organization (technically: an “institution”) of human actions; which is in constant and necessary flux precisely because it is an organization of action, but which at the same time is kept constantly we could even say unchangeably organized for the same end, human and Christian perfection, by the Laws of Social Justice and Social Charity.

Pope Pius XI seems to have invented the very term “Social Charity” himself; but he picked up the term “Social Justice” from a growing popular usage which began about 1850. Before 1850, “Legal Justice” or “General Justice” were the only terms used to designate what we now call “Social Justice.” The history of “Legal Justice” had been a long and none too happy one; and when Pope Pius XI finally wrote the last chapter, he solved a philosophical “mystery story” whose solution had eluded the world’s best thinkers from Aristotle on down.



It was in the Fourth Century B.C. that the story began. Then Aristotle discussed “Legal Justice”—and probably invented the term in the Fifth Book of his Ethics; but he left the idea fuzzy and anemic. For him it wasn’t a special virtue at all, but rather a name for all virtues insofar as the law required their practice. It offered little help towards building a good society beyond the rather obvious information that law-abiding people made better citizens than gangsters.

There the matter stood until the greatest thinker of the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas, took the idea up and made something of it. What he did was to redefine it as a special virtue which has the Common Good for its direct object. Of course, the common good of society is so all-embracing that every act of virtue done by the members of society will contribute something to it. In this “indirect” way, Aristotle was right. That was why Legal Justice, whose direct object is the Common Good, was also called “general justice”: for the sake of that Common Good it could also (i.e., “indirectly”) demand acts of every other virtue. Thus, in defense of the Common Good of a country, it could demand bravery (“fortitude”) from a soldier. In this example the soldier’s virtue is not only that of fortitude (facing death bravely), but also that of Social Justice (defense of the Common Good); and every other virtue whatever could also become an act of Social Justice in the same way, i.e., by being done for the Common Good.

This is a great improvement over Aristotle’s imperfect notion, but it still leaves a tremendous question unanswered: If this Social Justice is now really a special virtue, does it have any special and direct acts of its own? It is easy to see how acts of the other virtues could all give the Common Good a “lift” once this Common Good is already a “going concern”; but is there an act of this special virtue which directly “makes” the Common Good starts it off and builds it up, or rebuilds it if it happens to be destroyed?

Much as he did for Social Justice, St. Thomas, did not ask or answer this crucial question, and for over seven hundred years after him, few philosophers asked it and none gave the answer. Of those few who did ask it, some denied that the question was a good one, and the rest said, No! In fact, one of the most recent of these, actually commenting on Pope Pius XI’s teaching, was so blinded by his own training that he could not see what the Pope was driving at, and ended his discussion of Social Justice with the awful statement: 

“The Common Good is not an object which can be directly attained.” When it is remembered that the Common Good is the greatest of natural goods, that only under its sway can individual goods be attained or retained, that without it each individual’s share of personal perfection is either limited or destroyed, one can begin to realize what a mess society would be in if that statement were true! It may even be that the status quo (“Latin,” as someone said, “for the mess we are in!”) results, as much as anything, from our widespread belief that it was true.

The best that the social philosophers of the past could manage was to teach that in every action Social Justice required “a good intention” for the Common Good. But how uncertain this “good intention” is when not backed up by a complete theory of Social Justice, can be seen from the fact that the high-priest of unrestrained individualism, Adam Smith, appealed to it constantly to justify his destructive theories! Few books profess devotion to the Common Good more often or more insistently than his Wealth of Nations. It was left for Pope Pius XI to put the question clearly and accurately after twenty-three centuries! and to answer it right.

Law and Justice Radical Instability of Human Affairs

First let us see what Pope Pius XI has to say about the radical instability of human society. The best statement of his views is to be found in a discourse delivered on May 15, 1926, to a group which had been commemorating the thirty-fifth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Rerum Novarum (“On the Condition of the Working Classes”). This discourse is in the direct line of Pope Pius XI’s own great Encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno, which was written just five years later, on the fortieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum. As a matter of fact, the discourse is quoted (at Paragraph 49) in Quadragesimo Anno, and the reference given; so that it is obvious that it should be studied with the latter document.

The importance of the Discourse is further emphasized by the Holy Father’s statement at the beginning that it resulted from some sort of divine inspiration. The Holy Father thinks himself in conscience bound to these dear sons who have come here in the expectation of some direction
relative to their role as leaders of Catholic Action. That is why he will tell them in all confidence what the Lord inspired him to say at the moment when, kneeling before Him, he had repeated the beautiful prayer of St. Thomas: Da mihi, Domine, sedium tuarum assistricem sapientiam….

The first reflection bears upon the instability of human affairs, and not only of the minor ones, but also of the great; not only of those which are contingent circumstances of social life, but also those which seem bound up with the very substance of things, and which we are not in the habit of conceiving in any other way than as unchangeable. There is an instability from which no single thing can escape, for that, precisely, is the essence of created things: they have not in themselves the reason for their own being. Thus it happens that even for the greatest things, for those that are closest to the substance of certain institutions, instability is possible, and sometimes inevitable and it is even, in fact, commonplace, especially if we do not stop at the consideration of each fact in particular, but extend our view to the great considerations of history and of the road traveled by the human race.



The fact is that precisely in those social elements which seem fundamental, and most exempt from change, such as property, capital, labor, a constant change…is not only possible, but is real, and an accomplished fact. It suffices to examine the course of history.

Of course, the fundamental principle: “Thou shalt not steal,” remains immutable, and in disregard of it there is only violation of the divine precept. But what divers concrete forms property has had, from that primitive form among rude and savage peoples, which may be observed in some places even in our own day, to the form of possessions in the Patriarchal Age, and so further to the various forms under Tyranny (We are using the word “Tyranny” in its classical sense); and then through the feudal and, later, monarchical forms, to the various types that are to be found in more recent times! How many and how different attitudes in what concerns not only the great collectivities, but even the family, and individuals!

Most of the last paragraph above is quoted in Quadragesimo Anno. It will be noticed that besides indicating profound changes in the concept and fact of property throughout the ages, this passage also indicates, as the Pope himself is careful to point out in the last sentence, equally fundamental changes in the forms and ideas of the State and of the family, as well as in the norms and limits of individual action. The quotation continues:

1. It is the same with labor. From the primitive work of the man of the stone age, to the great organization of production of our day, how many transitions, ascensions, complications, diversities!

2. What an enormous difference! It is therefore necessary totake such changes into account, and to prepare oneself, by an enlightened foresight and with complete resignation, to this instability of things and of human institutions, which are not all perfect, but necessarily imperfect and susceptible of changes.

The most pragmatical of the modern “Scientific Sociologists” could not surpass this statement of the radical instability “even of those great institutions which seem bound up with the very substance of things, and which we are not in the habit of conceiving in any other way than as unchangeable.” The Pope could venture so boldly into this “no-man’s-land” between the moralists and the sociologists because he knew that he had already found the answer to the unsolved problem of both sides: how to maintain the reign of unchanging law if it is once admitted that the “very substance of things” is subject to change.

Justice International Children Crimes

In both of the congressional hearings on these matters before Rep. Ben Gilman of New York, chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, and Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Criminal Justice Oversight one element appeared evident: Parentally kidnapped children are not a high priority for anyone in the Clinton administration and no long-term plan exists to rectify the problem. Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, put it bluntly to State and Justice officials during the Senate hearing. "I don't think it is a high-enough priority with the State Department and Justice Department. All I hear you say is why you can't do things." That they did.

The Justice Department said it rarely pursues prosecutions under the 1993 International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act, or IPKA, because its prosecutors assume a U.S. indictment will prevent children from being returned. In five years, just 62 indictments and 13 convictions have resulted from the thousands of cases of abductions.  "The law is rarely used," Thurmond told a group of a dozen or so concerned parents at the hearing. "The administration discouraged the Congress from passing this statute, which is evident from the department's reluctance to enforce it," and simply ignores the law. Likewise, the State Department does not appear to treat child thefts as seriously as violations of patent and copyright laws. DeWine says the message is that people better not steal from U.S. corporations but may steal American children and get away with it.

The sons of Lady Catherine I. Meyer, wife of the British ambassador to the United States, were kidnapped to Germany by their biological father, her former husband. Meyer testified recently before the Senate committee, arguing for the State Department to treat these cases as human-rights abuses echoing Hillary Rodham Clinton's remarks this summer after Insight raised the issue (see "Kidnapped Kids Cry Out for Help," May 10). Meyer told the senators that months pass, years pass, without her being permitted to see her children, Alexander and Constantin. "Has anyone proved that I am an unfit mother?" she asked. "No. Has anyone proved that I do not love my children? No. But I am nonetheless denied the rights that even women in prison are allowed."



After an Insight cover story (see "Kids Held Hostage," March 8), Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Mary Ryan defended her office's record by asserting that these cases merely are "international parental child-custody disputes," essentially private matters, a term that infuriates victimized parents. (Ironically, in Ryan's Hague Convention Compliance Report to Congress, which identified Honduras, Mauritius, Mexico and Sweden as chief violators, Ryan noted that labeling them mere "custody disputes" is the standard line foreign governments provide to the United States.) Challenged by Gilman in the House hearing, Ryan called for more federal money.

Meyer certainly wasn't happy with Ryan's response nor in agreement that Germany should not be listed in the Hague compliance report. German courts and authorities, she says, consistently have shown bias in favor of the German parent. "As a result," Meyer told the committee, "Rebecca Collins has not seen her children since 1994, James Rinaman since 1996, Kenneth Roche since 1991, Edwin Troxel since 1997, Mark Wayson since 1998, Anne Winslow since 1996, Donald Youmans since 1994, Joseph Cooke's children have been placed in foster care and he has not seen them since 1994 and John Dukheshere and George Uhl do not know the whereabouts of their children.... None of us have received any information on our children's welfare. And to top it all, the German courts often demand child-maintenance payments from the victim parents!"

Frustrated that the State Department even resists performing welfare checks on these children, many parents hoped a General Accounting Office, or GAO, investigation requested by Gilman would expose and document the poor record of the State and Justice departments concerning these matters and force changes. The report is due out in mid January.

But don't expect much. Jess T. Ford, associate director for international relations and trade issues at the GAO, has provided a summary of its findings to Gilman's committee, and parents already are calling it another whitewash of the kind they say they experienced earlier this year. That time it was the report to Attorney General Janet Reno prepared by the Justice Department Subcommittee on International Child Abduction of the Federal Agency Task Force on Missing and Exploited Children and the Policy Group on International Parental Kidnapping. The report suggested the department had the blessing of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, based in Arlington, Va., but in fact the center strongly disagreed with the findings and issued a dissenting opinion, which the task force didn't note.

The center was upset that the task force neglected to include the record of Justice Department failure to pursue criminal prosecutions under IPKA and froze them out of international cases.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

States Parties shall Respect The Law of The Child to Freedom of Thought

For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of
eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.

States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the
implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social
and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their
available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.
States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or
protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities,
particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as
competent supervision. States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the present Convention.

States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life. 2. States Parties shall ensure
to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including
nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her
identity. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with
applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.
Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of
the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made
as to the child's place of residence.

In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be
given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents 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. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.

In accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, applications by a child or his or her parents to enter or leave a State Party for the purpose of family reunification shall be dealt with by States Parties in a positive, humane and expeditious manner. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall entail no adverse consequences for the applicants and for the members of their family.

A child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents. Towards that end and in accordance with the obligation of States Parties under article 9, paragraph 1, States Parties shall respect the right of the child and his or her parents to leave any country, including their own, and to enter their own country. The right to leave any country shall be subject only to such restrictions as are prescribed by law and which are necessary to protect the national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Convention.

States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad. To this end, States Parties shall promote the conclusion of bilateral or multilateral agreements or accession to existing agreements. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial
and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an
appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.

States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.

No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The States Parties to The Present Convention Law and Justice

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations,
recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human
family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, Bearing in mind that the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.  Recognizing that the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights, proclaimed and agreed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance, Convinced that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.

Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should
grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. Considering that the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations. and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.

Bearing in mind that the need to extend particular care to the child has been stated in the Geneva
Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924 and in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the General Assembly on 20 November 1959 and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in particular in articles 23 and 24), in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (in particular in article 10) and in the statutes and relevant instruments of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children.

Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal
protection, before as well as after birth. Recalling the provisions of the Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally; the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules) ; and the Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict, Recognizing that, in all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration.

Taking due account of the importance of the traditions and cultural values of each people for the
protection and harmonious development of the child, Recognizing the importance of international cooperation for improving the living conditions of children in every country, in particular in the
developing countries.