A.A.A. v. Spain
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
30 September 2016
CRC, Article 3 (best interests of the child)
CRC, Article 13 (freedom of expression)
CRC, Article 14 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion)
CRC, Article 16 (protection of privacy)
CRC, Article 39 (rehabilitative care)
OPIC, Article 5(1) (scope of individual communications)
OPIC, Article 7(c) and (f) (admissibility)
Other international provisions:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Articles 14 and 17.
The complaint was brought by the aunt of a child on her own behalf and that of the girl. The aunt had been feuding with the girl’s father, who was preventing his daughter from seeing members of his family. The aunt requested that the Spanish courts schedule visits with the girl. The court of first instance rejected the request on the basis of the best interests of the child, finding that the highly conflictual relationship between the aunt and the father could be a source of stress for the child. The aunt appealed the decision through the Spanish courts before filing a complaint with the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Issue and resolution:
Visitation of children. The complaint was inadmissible as it was manifestly ill-founded.
The Committee found the complaint that the national courts had not considered the best interests of the child to be manifestly ill-founded because the Spanish court that made the decision not to create a visitation schedule did so on the grounds that the potentially harmful impact of initiating a relationship with an unknown relative in conflict with the girl’s father was not in the best interests of the child. Under the Committee’s complaints procedure, considerations of factual information are to be made by national courts unless the national proceedings were clearly arbitrary or amount to a denial of justice. The Committee rejected the complaints under articles 13, 14, 16 and 39 as the complaint had not sufficiently explained how these rights had been violated.
The Committee found the aunt’s complaint that her own rights under the Convention had been violated, as the CRC protects the rights of children, not adults. The Committee was also unable to consider parts of the complaint alleging a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as it does not have jurisdiction over complaints of violations of the Covenant.
Excerpts citing CRC
“Consideration of admissibility 4.1 Before considering any claim contained in a communication, the Committee must decide, in accordance with rule 20 of its rules of procedure under the Optional Protocol, whether the communication is admissible.”
“4.2 The Committee notes the author’s allegations that the national courts, in denying her a schedule of visits with her niece, violated the rights of U.A.I. under article 3 of the Convention by failing to take into account the best interests of the child. The Committee is of the view that, as a general rule, it comes under the jurisdiction of the national courts to examine the facts and evidence, unless such examination is clearly arbitrary or amounts to a denial of justice. The Committee notes that the judgments of the courts of first instance, appeal and cassation to reject the author’s application were based on the best interests of the child and duly justified on the grounds of the potentially harmful impact of initiating a relationship with an unknown relative who was in serious conflict with the child’s parents. In the absence of additional information showing how the principle of the best interests of the child was violated in rejecting the author’s application, the Committee considers that this complaint has not been sufficiently substantiated and declares it inadmissible in accordance with article 7 (f) of the Optional Protocol.”
“4.3 With regard to the author’s claims under articles 13, 14, 16 and 39 of the Convention, the Committee considers that she has not substantiated how the rights of U.A.I. under these provisions have been violated as a result of the lack of contact between U.A.I. and the author and other paternal relatives. The Committee therefore finds that these claims are manifestly unfounded and also declares them inadmissible under article 7 (f) of the Optional Protocol.”
“4.4 With regard to the author’s rights under article 39 of the Convention, the Committee considers that this and the other articles of the Convention protect the rights of children and not the rights of adults. The Committee therefore finds that this complaint is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention and declares it inadmissible in accordance with article 7 (c) of the Optional Protocol.”
“4.5 Finally, the Committee considers that the alleged violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights fall outside the scope of this communications procedure. Consequently, the Committee declares this complaint inadmissible under article 5 (1) of the Optional Protocol.”
CRIN believes this decision is compatible with the CRC. Article 3(1) requires that the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children, but the complaint did not substantiate its claims that this had not been the case.
Communication No. 2/2015 (CRC/73/D/2/2015)
This case summary is provided by the Child Rights International Network for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.