Monday, 7 October 2013

Dear Edwin, What about the rights of the child?

I'm back on the subject of the Northern Ireland Health Minister, Edwin Poots, so soon after my previous comments. But then if he will say:

"It is not a human right to adopt a child for either a mixed-sex couple or a same-sex couple."

While this is not enshrined in any version of human rights anywhere the United Nations have a Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 3 (Best interests of the Child) states:

With regard to decisions that affect a child, his/her best interests should be taken into consideration.  This provision extends to legal and administrative decisions.  When parents, elected officials, and other adults make decisions, they should think about what impact their choices and actions will have on children.
Article 20 (Protection for Children without Families):

Governments should provide appropriate, alternative care for children who cannot be looked after by their own families.  Examples include guardianship, kinship care, foster placement, and adoption.  It is within the best interest of children to be looked after by people who respect their ethnic, religious, cultural, and linguistic background.

Article 21 (Adoption):

Children have the right to a family.  However, certain circumstances prevent a child from living with their families, such as children who have been orphaned or whose families are unable to care for them.  In these instances, children may be eligible for adoption.  Children should only be adopted if it is within their best interest.

So while Mr Poots may be right that nobody has the right to adopt a child, the child does have the right and the onus is on the Government to ensure that as far as possible the child has the right to a family, and that is achievable via adoption. No where in the UN Convention on the Right of the Child does it stipulate that the family has to consist of one father and one mother however.

So Mr Poots while you are arguing against people having the right to adopt, what about the rights of the children who languish unadopted in Northern Ireland to the right to a family.

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