E.B. and ors. v. New Zealand
The Human Rights Committee
16 March 2007
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: articles 17 (Right to privacy), 23 (Protection of the family) and 24 (Special protection for children).
E.B. separated from his wife, who denied him access to his three children and later made complaints to the police that he had sexually abused the children. E.B. was never convicted of any offence in relation to his children, but the Family Court considered that he posed "an unacceptable risk" to the safety of the children based, inter alia, on evidence given by the children to a psychologist. The decision was upheld on appeal. The children expressed a wish not to have contact with their father.
The complaint largely turned on the rights of E.B. to see his children and the delay involved in resolving the custody case, but the Human Rights Committee also made rulings with respect to the rights of the children themselves. The Committee considered that E.B. could not make a complaint on behalf of the children as he had not sought their authorisation to do so, they had expressed no desire for him to do so, and had in fact expressed their desire not to have contact with him. The Committee upheld the complaint on behalf of E.B. solely on the basis that the delay in resolving the custody hearing was excessive.
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