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Laws amended to ensure children have a say

A large number of laws have changed to ensure children’s rights in order to address many of the issues raised by the Commissioner for Children’s Rights over the years according to Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou.

In a press release on Tuesday, and in light of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights annual report which was submitted to President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday, Nicolaou noted that his Ministry has completed reviewing family law in order for the opinions of children to be taken into account in all the procedures that concern them.

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Nicolaou said that before any Family Court decision can be made regarding children, the opinion of the child must be taken into account in order to uphold their rights and to ensure their right to communicate with both parents.

He also revealed that the new regulations make provisions for parental care to be provided by both parents and not by a single parent as is the current practice unless there was some mutual understanding between them.

“In this way communication between the child and both parents is maintained as is the interest of both parents in the well-being of the child,” explained Nicolaou.

The Minister also said that the new regulations afforded juvenile delinquents aged 14-18 an alternative to judicial treatment.

Nicolaou explained that the procedure will be extrajudicial while any court proceedings will be fundamentally different from the current system ensuring a child-centred approach in order to rehabilitate the child.

“It’s a great innovation which will be applied for the first time. I can say that our amended law is now compatible with laws applied by modern countries, and in particular the EU Member States,” said Nicolaou.

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