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2014年4月23日 (水)

(社説)ハーグ条約 子どもの利益を第一に

April 22, 2014
EDITORIAL: Child's well-being top priority in international custody disputes
(社説)ハーグ条約 子どもの利益を第一に

When an international marriage breaks up and the husband and the wife decide to live in separate countries, which parent should their child live with?
 国際結婚が破綻(はたん)した。父と母はそれぞれ別の国に住むことになった。その場合、子どもはどちらと暮らすべきか。

In such cases, the child should be with the parent who lives in the country where the family lived before the breakup, and decisions on such legal issues as custody and visitation rights should in principle fall under the jurisdiction of that country.
 子はまず、元々住んでいた国の親の方に戻す。そして、その国で親権や、その後の面会について決めることを原則とする。それがハーグ条約である。

These are the basic rules set by the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The Hague Abduction Convention finally took effect for Japan on April 1. More than 90 countries are party to the convention.
 90カ国以上が加盟しており、日本でも今月、発効した。

Cross-border child custody disputes that are governed by the treaty include cases in which Japanese who were married to foreigners and lived abroad have returned home with their children after divorce.
 海外で結婚生活を送っていた日本人の親が子と帰国する。

They also include cases in which foreign nationals who were married to Japanese and lived here have removed their children from Japan after divorce.
外国人の親が日本から子を連れ出す。いずれのケースもある。

Previously, there were no effective legal measures available for the parent separated from his or her child in either of the two types of cases.
 どちらであれ、これまで連れ去られた親の側にとれる有効な手立ては少なかった。

There have also been cases in which parents who have taken children away from their spouses after divorce have been treated as abductors by foreign law-enforcement authorities.
また、連れ去った親が外国当局から誘拐犯扱いされることもあった。

It is reasonable that the treaty supports legal settlements of such disputes in the country where the family lived before the breakup of the marriage. But the circumstances of every child custody case are different. Sometimes, it is not clear whether the treaty’s principles should be applied to certain cases.
 元々家族が暮らしていた国での解決を後押しするのは理にかなう。ただ、親の事情は千差万別であり、なかなか原則通りにいかないこともあろう。

The top priority in dealing with such cases should be finding the best possible solution for the well-being of the child. That must be the most fundamental guiding principle for handling child custody disputes.
 最優先すべきは、子にとって最善の解決策をとることだ。それを基本としておきたい。

The convention applies only to custody cases involving children under 16. The country to which the child has been removed is responsible for finding and returning the child.
 条約の対象は16歳未満の子。連れ去られた先の国に、その子を捜して元の国に戻す支援をする責任がある。

When the child in such a case is in Japan and the parent refuses to follow the rule, the family court in Tokyo or Osaka decides whether the child should be returned to the country where the family previously lived. The child may be forcefully separated from the parent.
 日本国内に子がいる場合、その親が応じなければ、東京または大阪の家裁が連れ戻しの是非を判断し、強制的に親から引き離すこともある。

Obviously, efforts should first be made to seek a settlement through talks between the father and the mother. Japanese bar associations are now working to establish a private-sector organization to mediate such disputes in cooperation with the government. The envisioned organization should be able to give adequate consideration to linguistic, cultural and legal differences between the countries involved and work in a way that is also satisfactory to foreign nationals seeking help.
 まずは父母の話し合いによる合意をめざすべきなのは、いうまでもない。弁護士会などは国と提携した民間の調停機関づくりを進めている。言語や文化、法の違いに配慮し、海外から援助を求める人にも納得してもらう対応をしてほしい。

When the father and the mother are locked in a serious confrontation, the family court’s involvement is inevitable. The Hague Abduction Convention allows the court to reject the parent’s request for the return of the child when such action could put the child in serious danger.
 父母の対立が深刻だと家裁の関与は避けられない。条約では子に重大な危険があれば、連れ戻しを拒むことも認めている。

In particular, assessing the risks involved in the return of the child is difficult in cases where the parent has returned home with the child after suffering from domestic violence. The court should make the decision after grasping and considering all relevant conditions and factors while respecting the convention’s basic ideas.
 とりわけ連れ去った方の親が配偶者の暴力に耐えかねて帰国したケースでは、子を戻すリスクをどのように考えるかは難しい。条約の理念は尊重しつつ、できるだけ実態を把握、勘案したうえで判断すべきだ。

The convention also requires respect for the child’s will when he or she refuses to be returned. The family court needs to create an environment where children can comfortably disclose how they really feel.
 条約は、連れ戻しを拒む子の意思も尊重している。家裁は子が本心を話しやすい雰囲気づくりをすることも必要だろう。

International marriages are likely to increase in the coming years. In Japan, custody of the child of a divorced couple is granted to just one parent. But in other industrial nations, both parents are generally involved in the rearing of their children. This approach is based on the notion that children need the affection and care of both parents during the process of growth irrespective of whether they are in marital relations or not.
 国際結婚は今後も増えそうだ。日本では離婚後は一方の親が親権をとるが、他の先進国では共同で子育てにかかわるのが一般的だ。婚姻関係にかかわらず、子は成長過程で父と母の双方とのふれあいを必要とするという考え方が根底にある。

Japan may need to have more debate on the roles of divorced parents in the rearing of their children while taking account of the situations in other countries.
 こうした海外の事情を考えるとともに、日本でも、離婚した両親と子育ての役割をめぐる論議を高めてはどうだろうか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 22

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