Interview with Borja Brañanova
WHEN CAN YOUR CHILDREN VISIT SPAIN?
Unfortunately nobody knows, not even shared custody guarantees their autonomy. Spanish diplomacy is trying with very little response from the UAE authorities. Fortunately, my children live with their mother and their father everyday. Many children are deprived of any regular interaction with one parent, as judicial mechanisms are not updated and the social services are unsuitable for these circumstances. All these legal obstructions hindering regular contact are unthinkable in the West, as they cause permanent damage to the development of children who are immersed in family disputes, where only full custody is known and implemented. This type of legal framework involving full custody means that the parent who has the advantage of obtaining single-parent custody does not hesitate in taking full control of the minor protected by the system, with a negative impact on their perception to the detriment of their emotional well being.
Around the world, it is still the case that most authorities do not have the best interests of the child at heart as we understand it, so international justice lacks the value that we wish it and, as a result, there is a need for logical reform.
HAVE YOU CONSIDERED GOING BACK TO SPAIN?
Definitely not as a resident, but I do plant to return frequently when my children can visit on regular basis.
I will not leave Dubai because my children must have a childhood in the company of both their parents / families, and Dubai has done everything possible to implement the judgement of the international community.
What’s more, its legal system and social services should be developed and updated in order to minimize the gaps that make families uncomfortable when living in regions that still solve family conflicts based on confrontation or culpability, and not within a context of collaboration because this is the main basis for shared custody.
My commitment is to help Dubai and the UAE become modernized, and staying in the area will make sure this is not an isolated event and might lead to large-scale change, given the impact and influence of Dubai in MENASA (Middle East North Africa & South Asia), a region of the world with boundaries along the entire south of Spain.
This whole situation should not go unnoticed by our leaders and legislators, so that they can start taking steps towards an urgent legal update in family and international affairs.
HAVE YOU FELT SUPPORT FROM THE SPANISH MEDIA?
The support for this cause has been unforgettable: I have felt the warmth of the population, of the regions, of the political parties who have joined forces to be listened, of specialists in psychology and the development of minors, of legal professionals including judges from the Supreme Court, of the regional government of Asturias, the central government, embassies, a large number of media organizations committed to supporting children. As well as all this support from home, an increasing number of interanational people have joined spontaneously, because what is happening in the Emirates has reached many places round the world in a fulminating fashion.
The last support that should not go unnoticed is the praiseworthy action of CEMIN, the Confederation for the best interests of children, in an attempt to expand and provide greater support for ensuring children remain the focus of attention. They have therefore proposed this project to the Princess of Asturias Foundation as an example of Concord and Harmony among cultures that are increasingly united for the sake of international development. Merits identified for this award include contributing in an exemplary and relevant fashion to mutual understanding, coexistence and peace among mankind, the fight against injustice, the defence of freedom and, in short, the opening of new horizons.
DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT GIVING UP?
No. Fortunately, being Spanish and Asturian has given me the necessary strength to work in favour of children, not just mine, and in favour of both parents so that we never have to face discriminatory situations of any type.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE INVOLVED IN A SIMILAR CASE?
I was brought up in a family where tolerance is encouraged, discrimination avoided and dialogue applauded. Now my family is supporting me on all levels. My intention is to educate my children with the same ethics and values to avoid any alienating element that might affect them in the present and in their future development.
To others I would say the same: try to detach yourself from the negative part of any situation and focus on increasing the positive in order to ensure children have that all-essential peace and tranquillity.
I am involved in the foranychildren.org projec that welcomes fellow members and collaborators with open arms to provide preventive work and promote legal changes at national and international level with the sole goal of protecting children, who are the main assets of the future of mankind.