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“I can say, my children were not given [to the orphanage], rather, they were stolen”. Mother’s parental rights restored according to the Court’s decision

August 31, 2021

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On 4 June 2021, RA Lori Region General Jurisdiction Court of First Instance upheld Zara Martirosyan’s application and restored her parental rights. 

 

In January 2020, Zara Martirosyan applied to Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor asking to protect her and her children’s rights.

 

HCA Vanadzor advocates Arayik Zalyan and Nushik Ter-Movsisyan undertook the protection of Zara Martirosyan’s rights.

 

Back in 2015, according to the conclusion of Lori Regional Administration Department of the Rights of Family, Women and Children, four of Zara Martirosyan’s children were transferred to the Orphanage of Vanadzor without her knowledge and consent, “My husband was seriously ill, he was taking psychotropic drugs, under the influence of which he was made to sign the paper on placing the children in the orphanage, he was told that the children were being taken to a care house for one week, and now they lie to me, saying that my husband placed the children there”. 

 

Then, in 2016, based on the application of the Orphanage, RA Lori Region General Jurisdiction Court made a ruling to restrict Zara Martirosyan’s parental rights and then deprived her of parental rights in 2017.

 

Despite being deprived of her parental rights, she regularly visited her children and tried to restore their relations, she also got registered in Vanadzor Employment Center, always worked with her elder son, improved the apartment conditions, aiming to restore her parental status and get her children back. So, she was always in touch with her younger children who were given to a foster family. Visits were prohibited due to the pandemic, but she was in touch with them on the phone and always provided financial support to those of her children who lived by themselves.

 

With the support of HCA Vanadzor, Zara Martirosyan applied to RA Lori Region General Jurisdiction Court of First Instance in order to restore her parental rights based on Article 62 of the RA Family Code, which envisages the procedure of restoring parental rights, “The parental rights can be restored if the parents or one of them have changed their living style and/or the attitude towards the child’s rearing”.

 

On 4 June 2021, the Court made a judgement to uphold Zara Martirosyan’s application to restore her parental rights, taking into account that the difficult situation in the family should not have led to termination of contact between parents and children and the condition that the state undertook the child’s caring should have been viewed as a temporary measure. In this case, Zara Martirosyan completely devoted herself to the process of restoring her parental rights by thus changing her behaviour, living style and attitude towards her children's upbringing in order to reunite with them. At the same time, in connection with the “right to hope”, the Court considered it necessary to give Zara Martirosyan an opportunity to restore the emotional connection with the child - typical of an Armenian parent, Armenian mother - which is necessary for the children’s further healthy emotional and mental  development and creation of a normal family atmosphere. 

 

In Zara Martirosyan’s words, she managed to restore her parental rights only with the support of HCA Vanadzor, “I can say that my children were not given [to the orphanage], rather, they were “stolen” ”. 

 

Thus, though a difficult situation in the family can lead to children being handed to the state to take care of them in the best interest of those children, reuniting with their biological parents has a positive impact on the child’s mentality, especially in cases when conditions change and parents have due attention in the matter of the child’s upbringing. As a result, in such cases Court decisions related to child care should change, since living together with the parents is crucial for children in this regard. 

 

 

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