Zawadka vs. Polonia
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În cauza Zawadka vs. Polonia, (petiția nr. XXXX/XXX, decizia din 23 iunie 2005), Curtea a condamnat statul polonez pentru încălcarea dreptului unui tată de a avea relații personale cu fiul său născut în afara căsătoriei, în Polonia
Summary: (Press release) The applicant, Henryk Zawadka, is a Polish national who was born in 1960 and lives in Celestynów (Poland). The applicant and O. lived together for an unspecified period and, in 1994, O. gave birth to the applicant's son, P. In August 1996 O. moved out with P. On 8 November 1996 the applicant and O. concluded a friendly settlement. They agreed that P.'s place of residence would be with his mother. The applicant had a right to take P. to his home at specified dates and times in 1996. Starting from 1 January 1997 he was supposed to spend every second weekend with his son at his home. Subsequently the applicant asked for assistance in meetings with P. claiming that O. was obstructing contact. In the meantime parental responsibility proceedings were instituted. On 19 May 1997 the applicant took his son away from O. following an altercation. The applicant was ordered to return his son but failed to do so. He went into hiding. On 8 August 1998 the police took P. away from the applicant. On 24 February 1998 the applicant's parental responsibility was limited to a right to information about P.'s health and contact with him at O.s home. On 19 June 1998 the applicant was deprived of all parental rights in respect of P, on the ground that he had abused his rights by making it impossible for his son to contact his mother, when a mother's care at that stage of a child's development was indispensable. It was also found that the applicant's continuing hiding was to the child's detriment, especially because he was apparently working and his son was taken care of by other people. It emphasised that the child had the right to decent living conditions, a home and stability, of which the applicant had deprived him. On 27 March 2001 the applicant was informed that O. and P. had left for London on 30 May 2000. The proceedings are stayed.
The applicant complained that he had not been able to have his access rights enforced as the domestic authorities failed to give him adequate assistance. He further complained about an alleged breach of his and his son's rights to respect for their private and family life. He relied on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention.
The European Court of Human Rights found that the Polish authorities had failed to take practical steps that would, firstly, encourage the parties to co-operate in the enforcement of the access arrangements and, secondly, secure concrete and appropriate assistance by competent state agents within a specific legal framework suited to the needs of separated parents and their underage child. The Court emphasised that this resulted in the applicant permanently losing contact with his child. The Court concluded that the domestic authorities failed in their positive obligation to provide the applicant with assistance which would make it possible for the applicant to effectively enforce his parental and access rights. The Court held, by four votes to three, that there had been a violation of Article 8 and awarded the applicant EUR 100 for costs and expenses. (The judgment is available only in English).