Canadian Children's Rights Council - Conseil canadien des droits des enfants
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Canadian Children's Rights Council - Conseil canadien des droits des enfants

Child Rights - Virtual Library, Resource Centre, Archives and Advocacy

The Case for Mandatory Paternity Testing in Countries that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Canadian Children's Rights Council advocates for mandatory government paid paternity testing as early as technologically practical which compliments the current mandatory genetic disease testing of newborn babies.

Currently, the test is a simple non-invasive blood test of the pregnant woman after 5-12 weeks into the pregnancy, depending on the source of the information.

For more information about paternity testing visit our web page paternity testing.

Every province and territory in Canada already has a health insurance plan which covers all Canadians. It is a simple matter to provide funding for such testing for all Canadians.  Paternity testing is currently available across Canada as it is already used by for the purposes of identifying relatives of new Canadians who wish to immigrate to Canada.


Why mandatory paternity testing?

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for the human identity rights of the newborn infant in articles 7, 8 and 9 which state:

Article 7

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

Article 8

1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.

2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.

Article 9

1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.

2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.

3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests.

4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.


Newborn infants need and deserve the protection of the governments of Canada

Canada has been criticized for not adequately providing for these identity rights with regards to adopted children, an area of provincial/ territorial law.

Technology has changed and therefore the responsibilities of both the Government of Canada and the Provinces should also change to provide for the human identity rights of newborn infants.

The best and perhaps the only time to establish paternity.

Establishing paternity as early as technologically available by non-invasive testing is in the best interests of every Canadian child. Early confirmation during the woman's pregnancy of paternity of the fetus serves to inform both the potential parents of paternity as well as the woman's life partner or husband, as the case may be.

Decisions regarding the parenting of the potential child can be planned and both potential parents could then make a legal declaration that confirms or denies their individual legal choice to be a parent to this potential child.

It would assist a pregnant woman to know clearly what her choices are in bringing up the child if the man involved doesn't choose to become a parent.

The best and sometimes only time that paternity can be established is as close to the time of conception as technologically possible.

In Canada, a woman has the sole right to choose to give birth or have an abortion when she becomes pregnant.  With that right comes the responsibility to know the identity of the man who potentially will become the father of her child. The best estimates that we have are that 16% of Canadians are wrongly identified on their birth registration documents and have been deprived of their birthright. See paternity fraud.


The provincial or territorial governments must protect the rights of the newborn infant

Mothers are the gatekeepers of human identity of their newborn infants.   With a high rate of infidelity and a paternity fraud rate of approximately 16%, over 5 millions Canadians out of a population of approximately 32 million are wrongly identified and victims of paternity fraud in violation of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

A mother's interests may be conflicting with the interests of her newborn infant.

A woman who becomes pregnant because of her infidelity may not want to correctly identify the child's father because her husband may choose to divorce her and end their relationship.  She may face a civil lawsuit from her husband or life-partner.

See civil lawsuits on paternity fraud ie "South Korean husband successfully sues wife for Paternity Fraud and gets marriage annulled.

A woman who becomes pregnant and wants to choose to give up the baby to be adopted may wish to control the adoption process and eliminate the father from the adoption process by claiming the wrong male as the father.  By doing so she may avoid 20+ years of paying child financial support in the case of the father wished to become a parent and raise the child.

A woman may wish to have her child adopted out in another community so that she won't have her "mistake" possibly finding out her identity in years to come, say at time when she has married and has a family. Hiding a child's identity serves her purpose while it violates the child's human identity rights.

In adoption cases, getting the father's consent to the adoption of his child complicates matters for fixed fee government regulated adoption agencies.  It causes them much more work for their fees. See our web page birth fathers ignored

So it goes in the world of world of adoption, where a child's biological father is often relegated to a minor role or pushed offstage altogether. A birthmother making an adoptive placement may fail to name the baby's birthfather or even inform him because it may spoil her plans.

Although such government regulated adoption agencies are required "ethically" to ask about the father, there is no legal enforcement.  All information, much of which is incorrect or can be made up, is only provided by the birth mother with no verification at all.  The child has a right to be brought up by his or her father and his family.

Often biased adoption agency employees, which happen to be mainly women, are of the sexist attitude that children would be better off being brought up by a female adoptive parent than by a male birth parent.

The international adoption conference held in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada in mid October 2004, was attended by 650 people, mainly female social workers. Out of the 650 attendees, less than a dozen social workers from adoption agencies attended the session on birth fathers.  The words used in that session to describe the birth fathers included " sperm donors", "adoption spoilers" and other derogatory words. In other sessions, female social workers protested that adoptions were held up by judges "unnecessarily" when the judge insisted that the woman giving up the child to adoption make an effort to find and contact the child's father.

The provincial or territorial governments that control the medical system and registrations of births must provide proper, effective enforcement of child identity rights before or at birth.


The U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959) states in the preamble

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Whereas the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,

Whereas the need for such special safeguards has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the statutes of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,

Whereas mankind owes to the child the best it has to give, ...

We, at the Canadian Children's Rights Council, believe that children have the right to their human identity and the right to be raised by their biological parents which is in their best interests.