Available in Russian
Author: Natal’ya Kravchuk
Keywords: rights of the child; the best interests of the child; withdrawal of a child from a family; removal of a child; traditional values; RF Family Code; UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; European Court of Human Rights
Withdrawal of a child from its family has been the object of scholars’ and practitioners’ attention for a long time. Russian legislation provides for two procedures for child protection that presuppose his/her separation from parents — the administrative removal of a child in a dangerous situation and the limitation of parental rights, decided by a court. These procedures are linked and, in cases of urgent removal of a child, the limitation and withdrawal of parental rights represents the next step in the process initiated by the child’s removal. As for the reasons for a child’s removal, while urgent administrative action is possible only when a child’s health and life are under direct threat, the list of reasons for removal of a child within the frame of parental rights limitation procedure is open. Critics of the existing practice of removing a child from a family point to ill-considered and unjustified removals and to expanded interpretation of the reasons for it (e.g., poverty, the use of alcohol by parents, or non-traditional parents), as well as inaction in cases of direct threat to the child’s health and life. Violence against a child or his/her parent rarely becomes a reason for removal in spite of the presence of relevant norms in the law. Amendments to the Russian Constitution adopted in 2020 declared that children are the most important priority for the state and guaranteed protection of the family and traditional family values. This resulted in strengthening the discourse of unacceptability of removal of a child from a family. Two law drafts that were introduced in 2020 and presently are being modified aimed at considerably limiting state discretion to interfere a family affairs and prohibiting administrative removal of a child. Standards of regulation of a child’s removal developed by the European Court of Human Rights demonstrate that European countries share the value of fostering a child’s family upbringing and confirm the exceptional nature of a child’s removal from the family. Securing the principle of non-separation of a child from his/her parents, however, should not preclude protection of the child in cases when his/her health and life are in danger. It is possible to reach both aims if the link is cut between the removal of a child and the further process of limitation and withdrawal of parental rights. Issues of temporary removal of a child from the family and of withdrawal of parental rights, which sever family and legal ties between a child and his/her parents, should be considered separately, not formally, and taking into consideration the best interests of the child. In addition, it is necessary to guarantee the possibility for a child to reunite to his/her family after rehabilitation measures have been taken to build up the family’s child-rearing potential.
About the author: Natal’ya Kravchuk – Candidate of Sciences (PhD) in Law, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.
Citation: Kravchuk N. (2022) Iz’yat’ nel’zya ostavit’: vzglyad na rossiyskie realii iz’yatiya rebyonka iz sem’i cherez prizmu standartov Evropeyskogo Suda po pravam cheloveka [Removing but not leaving: the Russian reality of removing a child from its family as seen through the prism of standards developed in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 38–63. (In Russian).
Bartenev D. (2021) Will Russia Yield to the ECtHR? Fedotova and Others v. Russia: Yet Another Test Case of Russia’s Resistance to the European Human Rights Standards. Verfassungsblog. Available at: https://verfassungsblog.de/will-russia-yield-to-the-ecthr (accessed: 05.05.2022).
Bezhentsev A.A. (2017) Administrativno-pravovoe regulirovanie zashchity i vosstanovleniya prav nesovershennoletnikh lits organami opeki i popechitel’stva [Administrative and juridical regulation of protection and restoration of the rights of minors by guardianship authorities]. Vestnik Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta MVD Rossii, no. 3, pp. 38–41. (In Russian).
Bogatyrev N.I., Kuznetsova N.V. (1990) Otobranie detey bez lisheniya roditeley roditel’skikh prav [Taking away children from their parents without depriving parents of their parental rights]. Izvestiya vysshikh uchebnykh zavedeniy. Pravovedenie, no. 2, pp. 65–70. (In Russian).
Dorzhieva S.V. (2018) K voprosu o nemedlennom otobranii rebenka u roditeley [Turning to the issue of immediate removal of a child from parents]. In: Aktual’nye problemy sovremennoy yuridicheskoy nauki i praktiki: Materialy Mezhdunarodnoy nauchno-prakticheskoy konferentsii: k yubileyu doktora nauk, professora, zasluzhennogo yurista Rossiyskoy Federatsii Yuriya Il’icha Skuratova [Actual problems of modern legal science and practice: Proceedings of the International scientific and practical conference: on the anniversary of Doctor of Law, Professor, Honored Lawyer of the Russian Federation Yuri Ilyich Skuratov], Ulan-Ude: Buryatskiy gosudarstvennyy universitet, pp. 200–204. (In Russian).
Erezhipaliev D.I., Ogurtsova M.L. (2021) Sovershenstvovanie zakonodatel’stva v sfere obespecheniya prava rebenka na vospitanie v sem’e [Improvement of legislation in the field of ensuring the right of the child to be raised in the faamily]. Vestnik Universiteta prokuratury Rossiyskoy Federatsii, no. 1, pp. 77–82. (In Russian).
Gordeeva I.A. (2016) “Pokhishchenie” detey knyazya D.A.Khilkova: otobranie detey kak sposob bor’by s inakomysliem v istorii Rossii [“Abduction” of children of knyaz Hilkov as an instrument of fight against dissent in history of Russia]. In: Materinstvo i ottsovstvo skvoz’ prizmu vremeni i kul’tur: Materialy Devyatoy mezhdunarodnoy nauchnoy konferentsii RAIZHI i IEA RAN [Motherhood and fatherhood through the prism of time and cultures: Proceedings of the Ninth International Scientific Conference of RAIZHI and IEA RAS], Moscow: Institut etnologii i antropologii imeni N.N.Miklukho-Maklaya RAN, pp. 360–363. (In Russian).
Hazova O.A. (2014) Otobranie detey: mezhdunarodno-pravovye aspekty [Removal of children from parental custody: international aspects]. Semeynoe i zhilishchnoe pravo, no. 2, pp. 18–22. (In Russian).
Ishchenko E.V. (2017) Otobranie rebenka iz sem’i kak sposob preventsii administrativnykh deliktov [Disclosure of a child from the family as a method of prevention of administrative torts]. Vestnik Voronezhskogo instituta MVD Rossii, no. 2, pp. 110–116. (In Russian).
Kosova O.Yu. (2017) O kontseptual’noy osnove razvitiya rossiyskogo semeynogo zakonodatel’stva [A conceptual framework for the russian family law development]. Aktual’nye problemy rossiyskogo prava, no. 5, pp. 35–40. (In Russian).
Krasnova T.V. (2015) Sovershenstvovanie norm ob otvetstvennosti roditeley za vospitanie detey v kontekste mer po ukrepleniyu pravovoy zashchishchennosti sem’i v Rossii [Improving the rules on parental responsibility for the upbringing of children in the context of measures to strengthen the legal protection of the family in Russia]. Krymskiy nauchnyy vestnik, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 120–140. (In Russian).
Kuznetsova O.V. (2018) Organy opeki i popechitel’stva – eto instrument po zashchite prav detey ili po iz’yatiyu ikh iz sem’i? [Custody and protection authorities are a tool for protecting the rights of children for removing them from family?]. Vestnik Chelyabinskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya: Pravo, no. 2, pp. 46–51. (In Russian).
Lebedinskaya V.P. (2016) Osnovnye tendentsii razvitiya klyuchevykh institutov semeynogo prava i semeynogo zakonodatel’stva [Main tendencies of development of key institutes of the family law and family legislation]. In: Aktual’nye voprosy nauki i obrazovaniya v sovremennykh usloviyakh: Materialy mezhdunarodnoy nauchno‐prakticheskoy konferentsii [Topical issues of science and education in modern conditions: Materials of the international scientific-practical conference], Pyatigorsk: Severokavkazkoe izdatel’stvo MIL, pp. 21–27. (In Russian).
Ogurtsova M.L. (2021) Problemy realizatsii prava rebenka na vospitanie v sem’e [Problems of the implementation of the child’s right to upbringing in the family]. Zashchiti menya, no. 1, pp. 50–53. (In Russian).
Ordinartsev I.I. (2017) O neobkhodimosti sovershenstvovaniya semeynogo zakonodatel’stva v sfere iz’yatiya detey iz sem’i [About the need to improve family law in the field of removal of children from families]. Vestnik Tverskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya: Pravo, no. 1, pp. 33–39. (In Russian).
Reid K. (2015) A Practitioner’s Guide to the European Convention on Human Rights, 5th ed., London: Sweet & Maxwell.
Rybalka E.A., Kazantseva E.V. (2020) Pravovoe regulirovanie iz’yatiya detey iz sem’i sotrudnikami organov vnutrennikh del: problemy teorii i praktiki [Legal regulation of the removal of children from the family by police officers: problems of theory and practice]. Yurist’-Pravoved’, no. 2, pp. 17–22. (In Russian).
Shchelkin A.G. (2019) Legalizatsiya odnopolykh brakov: k voprosu o sotsial’no-civilizatsionnykh posledstviyakh [Legalization of same-sex marriages: social-civilizational consequences]. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya, no. 11, pp. 152–160. (In Russian).
Sirotkin V.O., Lukashevich S.V. (2019) Problema semeyno-pravovykh posledstviy izmeneniya pola v kontekste supruzheskikh i roditel’skikh pravootnosheniy [The problem of family and legal consequences of reassignment in the context of marital and parental relationship]. Pravovaya paradigma, no. 2, pp. 94–98. (In Russian).
Smirnovskaya S.I. (2021) Osobennosti pravovogo regulirovaniya otobraniya rebenka u roditeley (odnogo iz nikh) pri neposredstvennoy ugroze zhizni rebenka ili ego zdorov’yu [Peculiarities of legal regulation of the child’s selection from the parents (one of them) with an immediate threat to the child’s life or its health]. Trudy Orenburgskogo instituta (filiala) Moskovskoy gosudarstvennoy yuridicheskoy akademii, no. 4, pp. 96–99. (In Russian).
Solodnikov V.V., Chkanikova A.M. (2008) Deti v odnopolykh sem’yakh [Children in same-sex families]. Monitoring obshchestvennogo mneniya: ekonomicheskie i sotsial’nye peremeny, no. 1, pp. 136–148. (In Russian).
Steiner H.J., Alston Ph., Goodman R. (2008) International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals, 3rd ed., New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Stremousov D.A., Suprun Ya.I. (2021) Vliyanie konstitutsionnykh popravok na semeynoe zakonodatel’stvo [The impact of constitutional amendments on family law]. Voprosy rossiyskogo i mezhdunarodnogo prava, no. 2–1, pp. 83–88. (In Russian).
Tatarintseva E.A. (2015) Akt ob otobranii rebenka kak osobyy yuridicheskiy fakt v pravootnosheniyakh po vospitaniyu detey v sem’e [Act on removal of a child as special legal fact in legal relationshis on children’s upbringing in the family]. In: Semeynoe pravo i zakonodatel’stvo: politicheskie i sotsial’nye orientiry sovershenstvovaniya: sbornik mezhdunarodnoy nauchno-prakticheskoy konferentsii [Family law and legislation: political and social guidelines for improvement: collection of international scientific and practical conference], Tver: Tverskoy gosudarstvennyy universitet, pp. 261–264. (In Russian).
Tatarintseva E.A. (2017) Preimushchestvennye prava v pravootnosheniyakh po vospitaniyu rebenka v sem’e [Priority in legal relations of upbringing a child in the family]. Aktual’nye problemy rossiyskogo prava, no. 5, pp. 104–109. (In Russian).
Thoreson R. (2015) From Child Protection to Children’s Rights: Rethinking Homosexual Propaganda Bans in Human Rights Law. The Yale Law Journal, vol. 124, no. 4. Available at: https://www.yalelawjournal.org/comment/homosexual-propaganda-bans-in-human-rights-law (accessed: 05.05.2022).
Zhabenko A. (2019) Russian Lesbian Mothers: Between “Traditional Values” and Human Rights. Journal of Lesbian Studies, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 321–335.