CEMIN proposes Borja Brañanova and an international team for the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award for Concord

This is an unprecedented fact due to what it represents in the defense of human rights and children



CEMIN proposes Borja Brañanova and an international team for the Princess of Asturias Award for Concord 2019

This is an unprecedented fact due to what it represents in the defense of children’s human rights

CEMIN and other organisations from 68 countries support the candidacy of Borja Brañanova and a great team that has achieved the first joint custody in an Arabic country

Sebastián and Olaya

They are the children of Borja Brañanova, the person who has achieved a very important milestone. This is the story of two children who are prevented from travelling to their country by the United Arab Emirates authorities, and over which Spain is taking no action in “respect for judicial independence” in Dubai.

This international issue, like many others that do not come to public light for fear of the consequences of the complaint, show that there is an alarming legal loophole that affects family peace and the development of children around the world, as the agreements signed by the UN member states are not being complied with, and, in addition, the fundamental rights of minors whose best interests are interpreted in a discriminatory and unjustifiable manner are being violated.

The fact that Sebastián and Olaya were born in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) should under no circumstances deprive them of contact with their roots, and that is why this organization is created FOR THE CHILDREN / FOR ANY CHILDREN, to encourage parents, politicians, associations, courts, legislators, entities, states and international organizations to review the agreements ratified in 1989 (almost 30 years ago) and verify that they are fulfilled in the best interests of minors without using discriminatory arguments to avoid compliance.

CEMIN proposes the achievement of Borja Brañanova and the team that has taken part in its fair fight to the Princess of Asturias Foundation as an unprecedented historical event that opens a door to CONCORD and the protection of childhood interests

Why do we apply?

The honorable reason that makes us apply for this candidancy is to encourage the continued work in the fight to defend the minors’ best interests

What have we achieved?

A very open and tolerant Muslim court has heard the argument of a group of international professionals

Where do we want to go?

We want governments, politicians and legislation to be updated for the good of the children

It was very difficult, but we got there. There is still a lot to do and we are COUNTING ON YOU



((Taken from the El Mundo newspaper in its article dated 3 March 2019)

Borja Brañanova is an Asturian mining engineer who has lived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 15 years and has won the first part of a very special battle. “I hope that this ruling confirmed by the highest courts of Dubai will encourage all legislators around the world update their thinking and that it will help children, not only mine, to have a better future. Here, in the Emirates, it is the Year of Tolerance. Well, this is a sentence in favour of tolerance in the UAE”, explains Brañanova.


is second fight is to unlock the unexplainable prohibition by Emirates judges so that his children can travel with him to our country because they are Spanish.


It all began when Brañanova married a South African citizen in the UAE in 2013. The couple had Sebastián and Olaya who were registered as Spaniards at birth. But the marriage broke up after three years. A Sharia court formed only by Muslim judges, which has the authority to terminate mixed foreign marriages established in line with the Spanish civil code for minors, gave full custody to the mother with no contact by the father, based on Muslim issues that Brañanova believes are a direct attack on the fundamental rights of his children and of his own as their father. In addition, amidst the process, Brañanova was involved in several serious, discriminatory issues because the still unresolved case that prevents children from travelling to Spain with their father but allows them to travel to South Africa with their mother at any time, forcing the father to accede in writing and even unnecessarily interrupting the schooling of his children.


All this forced Brañanova to contact experts and establish support in the countries involved, which are Spain, South Africa and the UAE. Therefore, what was a routine case for the Emirate court has become a very heated subject seeking to comply with the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child that even the UAE has ratified. Its effective implementation to the detriment of the rights of children deprived of contact with their roots, family and culture in a systematic, inexplicable way, has not been achieved to date.


During these three years of legal battles, this expert in Business Administration has fought to modify the custody of his children and correct the “violation of the fundamental rights” of minors. And even now, after winning the first battle, his fight continues for the second. This issue, forbidding the children to travel, has aroused the interest of the Spanish and Emirates authorities, as there is no reasonable explanation within the framework of a divorce that is supposedly regulated in line with the parameters established in the Spanish civil code and where there are no civil reasons to assume that one parent should not be able to travel freely and the other should. This is called discrimination and it is everyone’s duty to fight it.


In South Africa, legal experts have provided evidence that joint custody is the priority model, as the father has always considered that dual citizenship must be respected at all times. In Spain, legal experts have argued all kinds of details on how the civil code should be interpreted, how it is based on the Spanish constitution, and how both are interpreted at all times to avoid discrimination of any kind.
In addition, the legal team relied on expert reports from retired magistrates of the supreme court who showed the singularities of the code and jurisprudence in this regard, which was presented very extensively as being the argument that regulates the evolution of legal decisions in Spain. So there was no doubt about the extensive violation of rights that were detected throughout the procedure. Reports were presented that included clarifications on international law and a specialized team on human rights, rights of minors and knowledge of the agreements also ratified this before the United Nations, presenting a detailed description of all the commitments acquired and breached by the UAE legal system.


Fortunately, Dubai is characterized by its rapid transformation and tolerance, so all the evidence provided was included in the main case that concluded in an unprecedented judgement that was confirmed on 12 March 2019 to become a fact on which many decisions will be based in the present and the future, and that may influence legislators in considering this option as feasible, because until now it has been considered unworkable in many parts of the world.


The Brañanova case is not an isolated event and affects the entire ex-pat community, so more and more parents, women and men are coming together to condemn all these inconceivable differences in Western legal frameworks. French, English, German, Australian, Italian, Indian, Spanish … 90% of the population of Dubai are foreigners who began to settle and form families over the past decade and now see how their parental obligations are interrupted by a very bureaucratic system that is very insensitive to the social reality of Dubai, of the UAE, and of more and more places in the Arabic world that struggle to evolve and solve their internal problems through dialogue and international cooperation.


Borja is very proud being Asturian, for what the history of Asturias means to the birth of Spain, and of all the achievements and civil rights associated with his nationality. He did not hesitate to ask for help from the local authorities in the area where he was born and grew up, which led to several council meetings, manifestos, communiqués and other action that encouraged the unity of all political parties to fight for the right of the children to visit Spain and transmit their legacy, so that in the future it is their own children who are proud of being Spanish, Asturian, and passionately lead the defence of the interests of their children in light of any threat to their rights.


The most complicated matter of the entire case was the participation of the local experts from Dubai, who continued to argue everything indicated by foreign jurisdiction with great ethical and prudential fervour so as not to jeopardise the process and focusing on fulfilling applicable law as the only way to defend the interests of minors.


The part of the case that came to light was the impediment to travel and never the legal litigation arising from the competence of the Dubai court, relying at all times on the logical social evolution in which the Emirates are immersed in order to host tourists and residents who demand legal security for both themselves and their children.


As the argument continues, Borja Brañanova and others involved have decided to create foranychildren.org in order to reach the competent authorities and request a review of the laws and processes to encourage the legal security of minors and a modern emotional development.


All this work has not been in vain and CEMIN, an organization with a great reputation in promoting the best interests of children, has sought to propose this candidacy for an award for Concord at the Princess of Asturias Foundation Awards 2019, having achieved many of the objectives that are considered worthy of being recognized in this award, as they represent the necessary tenacity to take small legal steps that might be a precedent to future legal adjustments that bring the understanding of East and West closer together, in order to defend human beings and minors’ rights within an area of ​​dialogue, collaboration, peace among people and, ultimately, concord.

We have achieved this thanks to the tenacity of a team of international professionals who have joined forces and criteria to fight for justice and the interest of minors.


The For any children logo is inspired by a teddy bear. Bears live in some parts of Asturias and are characterized by their nobility and strength. For any children fights to ensure all the children around the world are entitled to know their roots and surroundings, as Sebastián and Olaya will do when they discover the natural beauty of their land and the passion with which the Spanish people, especially the Asturian people, have raised the voices to ask the authorities for justice for the children.

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