On 11 October 2021, „Children’s Rights Vs. Parental Responsibility” an online, international, webinar for PhD students was organised by the Central European Professors’ Network coordinated by the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law, the Department of Civil Law of the Institute of Civil Sciences of the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Miskolc and the Miskolc Regional Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
During the webinar via Google Meet, Dr. Edit Sápi welcomed the conference participants, followed by Prof. Dr. Tímea Barzó, Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Korac Graovac, Dr. Suzana Kraljic and Dr. Lilla Garayová. The conference programme was very colourful and a wide range of children’s rights issues were presented by the speakers. In addition to examining the regulatory and doctrinal issues in each country, the presentations also drew attention to highly topical practical issues through valuable and forward-looking presentations. The conference was attended by thirteen PhD students from Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian, Czech, Polish and Hungarian universities. The presentations were divided into two consecutive sessions, which was justified by the very diverse range of topics covered by the participating students. The first session, entitled “Children’s rights vs. Parental Responsibility in Europe section”, was held in the morning of the conference, while the second session, entitled “Children’s rights vs. Parental Responsibility in the World section”, followed in the afternoon.
The first lecture of the “Children’s rights vs. Parental Responsibility in Europe section” was given by David Adesola BANKOLE (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Law), entitled “Maintaining personal relations = Contact with a child – Children’s and Parental Rights in light of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights”. Her presentation focused primarily on the issue of the right of contact of a parent who does not live with a child, stressing its importance. After a theoretical grounding, she turned to an analysis of case law in Croatian cases (Ribic v. Croatia; K.B. v. Croatia; Begovic v. Croatia; Jurisic v. Croatia) where the child was unable to maintain adequate contact with the non-cohabiting parent.
The second presentation was given by Urška KUKOVEC (Faculty of Law University of Maribor), who spoke about the principle of the best interests of the child. In her presentation entitled “The principle of the best interest of the child”. She first described how this principle is reflected in international documents and then went on to describe the relevant Slovenian legislation. In the domestic context, he not only described the relevant legislative background but also the related case law.
Afterwards, Denisa KOTROUŠOVÁ (University of West Bohemia), Czech PhD student, presented a thought-provoking paper entitled “Corporal Punishments as a Mean of Upbringing vs. Children’s Rights in the Czech Republic”, in which she raised the question of whether corporal punishment is an acceptable means of child rearing under Czech law or not. In his presentation, he examined Czech legislation and judgments, as well as important international conventions and soft law principles. In his presentation, he presented the diverging views on the subject.
The next speaker was Eva REMIŠOVÁ (Faculty of Law, Masaryk University in Brno), a PhD student at the University of Brno, who explored the interesting issue of the right to know one´s biological origin in her presentation “The right to know one´s genetic origin in relation to assisted reproduction”. In his presentation, he referred to the constantly evolving reproductive methods and techniques and then went on to summarise possible answers to the controversial question in the title.
Afterwards, Lucie ZATLOUKALOVÁ (Masaryk University in Brno, Faculty of Law), also a PhD student at the University of Brno, presented her paper “The Czech Amendment to the Civil Code – Divorce with Minor Children”. The presentation dealt with the amendment to the Czech Civil Code, which aims to simplify divorce for couples with minor children. The reason for this is that the current law often results in a lengthy procedure which is not in the best interests of the divorcing couple or the child. Under the amendment, if the spouses agree on the divorce, they do not need to go to court, but only need to reach a written agreement. With this amendment, the legislator aims to reduce state interference in family relationships.
The next lecture was given by Paulina RADOMSKA (Catholic University of Lublin), entitled “A child’s right to a monetary compensation due to a death of never known parent”. In her lecture, she discussed the trend in Polish case law which questions the possibility of recognising the family relationship as a personal right and highlighted Article 445 of the Polish Civil Code, which treats the concept of damage in an indefinite manner. The lecture drew attention to the need to take into account the far-reaching effects of the loss of a parent in the life of a child.
The next speaker was Mirna DZELETOVIC (University of Novi Sad), a PhD student from Serbia, who gave a presentation on “Parent’s right to change a child’s residence under the Serbian law”. In her presentation she addressed the sensitive issue of how to arrange for a change of residence of a child when the parents do not live together. She explained that under the Serbian Family Law, the change of residence of a child requires the consent of both parents, regardless of whether the parents exercise parental rights jointly or not. He also pointed out that the provisions of many other laws are not aligned with the relevant provisions of the Family Law Act. He also presented the practice of the Court of Appeal of Novi Sad for almost nine years.
This was followed by a presentation by Domagoj DALBELLO (Catholic University of Croatia), PhD student, on “The parents’ responsibility in children’s social and academic achievement”. In his presentation he highlighted the importance of parents being a model for their children in learning good behaviour and personal responsibility. He spoke, among other things, about the links between parental involvement and academic achievement, the acquisition of values that are useful in an academic and social context, and the general adaptation of children. She stressed the importance of parental involvement and setting boundaries for children’s future success.
The last speaker in this session was Ágnes Napsugár SZÉL (Károli Gáspár Reformed University), who gave a presentation on “The family law approach of the role of children’s rights and parental responsibility in the Hungarian Civil Procedure Code – Is there an opposition?”. In her practice-oriented presentation, she highlighted the specificities of Hungarian civil procedure law in the resolution of disputes involving children. She stressed the importance of having competent and sensitive judges in children’s cases.
After a short break, we heard examples from beyond the European model in the session “Children’s rights vs. Parental Responsibility in the World section”. Here, international PhD students from Hungarian doctoral schools presented their papers.
Thi Truc Giang HUYNH (University of Pécs), a foreign PhD student at the University of Pécs, gave a presentation on “The evolution of protecting children in Vietnamese private law”, which examined the legal history of child protection legislation in Vietnam.In her analysis, she shed light on the evolution of legislation in the context of child protection regulations in Vietnamese private law, namely marriage and family law and civil law.
Next, HIDAYATULLOH (University of Miskolc, HUNGARY), a PhD student from the University of Miskolc, Indonesia, presented her paper entitled “Protection of Children’s Rights during the Covid-19 Pandemic: A Case Study of Indonesia”.In the context of the pandemic situation, she highlighted various statistics, such as the fact that three quarters of households, especially those with children, experienced a severe drop in income due to the outbreak. He stressed that fulfilling children’s rights in terms of welfare, education and protection is a challenge for parents and the state, as there were 84.4 million children in Indonesia in 2019. In her presentation, she analysed the legal aspects of child protection in Indonesia, the responsibility of the state and parents in protecting children’s rights, and how child protection standards have been implemented by the Indonesian government during the Covid-19 period.
Raed GHANEM (University of Miskolc), an international PhD student at the University of Miskolc, presented his paper “Children’s Rights in Light of the Syrian Crisis”, showing that ten years after the Syrian war and the subsequent crises, children have been the most affected, according to reports from UN agencies.He stressed that there seems to be a big gap between the numbers and statistics and the provision of laws.In this context, he questioned the feasibility of the provisions of child protection laws in exceptional circumstances such as war, and the extent to which parental responsibility can be effective in such circumstances.
The second session and the final speaker of the conference was Gutama Namomsa DARAJE (University of Public Service), PhD student at the National University of Public Service, with her presentation on “Children rights and Parental Responsibility Ethiopian Perspective”. In her presentation, she described the sources and specificities of the Ethiopian legal system in the area of child protection. She pointed out that absolute poverty is clearly to blame for the violation of children’s rights and that there are gaps in the protection of certain categories of children, such as children with disabilities, who continue to suffer discrimination in addition to violations of children’s rights.He stressed that the legislative environment still needs to be improved to ensure that children’s rights are more fully protected.
In conclusion, the “Children’s Rights Vs.Parental Responsibility” international doctoral conference featured presentations that explored a wide range of children’s rights across countries and reflected on a number of challenges that are part of our everyday lives.The colourful presentations were an excellent match for the theme given as the conference title, creating a valuable, scholarly discourse.
Videos of the presentations: