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Experts on human rights are calling on France to take steps to protect children from sexual abuse.
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Experts on human rights are calling on France to take steps to protect children from sexual abuse.

The authorities were contacted by experts about three instances of alleged sexual abuse against multiple children by their fathers. The mothers who tried to protect them also faced violations.

Furthermore, the specialists discovered that, as per the accusations, the minors were subjected to sexual abuse or were in danger of experiencing sexual abuse by their fathers or alleged offenders who had credible and unsettling evidence of engaging in incestuous sexual abuse.

Despite the accusations, and without proper inquiries, the children were given into the care of their fathers.

Abuse allegations undermined 

The experts expressed concern over the family court’s decision to allow the accused perpetrator to accuse the mother of parental alienation. This tactic is used to undermine the allegations of sexual abuse against the children and shift the focus away from the alleged abuse committed by the perpetrator towards their partners and children.

The French authorities were encouraged to uphold the principles of caution and thoroughness in safeguarding children, especially during legal proceedings, in order to take a proactive approach when dealing with uncertain and complicated situations.

The opinions of the child must also be sought and honored, and their well-being must be the primary focus before determining custody in favor of one parent.

Boost law enforcement

The specialists emphasized the importance of strengthening the skills of law enforcement and justice professionals in effectively monitoring and addressing violations of human rights that impact these children and their mothers.

They emphasized the need for immediate action to address the concerning issue of children and their mothers being negatively impacted due to insufficient consideration for their well-being.

The specialists have been monitoring the activities of France’s CIVIISE, a commission dedicated to addressing issues of incest and sexual abuse against children. Their findings align with the concerns that have been brought to the attention of the Government.

Mechanism for complaints 

They called on the authorities to create a functional system for handling complaints from children and an investigative process for addressing the complaints of victims.

“They emphasized the importance of these initiatives, particularly in divorce and custody proceedings, which should be complemented by efficient communication among law enforcement entities and other support organizations. The well-being of the child must be the primary focus in any actions or determinations related to children.”

Remembering that France has ratified United Nations agreements regarding the rights of children and the elimination of gender discrimination, they called on the nation to fulfill its responsibilities under these global human rights treaties.

About UN experts 

The individuals who released the declaration are Mama Fatima Singhateh, UN Special Rapporteur on child sexual abuse; Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls; and the members of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls.

They receive their mandates from the UN Human Rights Council and are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

These individuals are not part of the UN personnel and do not receive compensation for their duties.