Gabriela Arias Uriburu is a world figure in the fight for Human Rights.
Gabriela Arias Uriburu was born in Brazil on March 14, 1965 where her father was a diplomat. At the age of 23, she went to live to Guatemala with her father who was Ambassador for the Republic of Argentina. In Guatemala, she meets Mr. Imad Shaban – Guatemalan citizen of Jordan origin – whom she marries in 1991. Three children are born from the couple: Karim (May 12, 1992), Zahira (December 25, 1993) and Sharif (April 5, 1996). In 1997, after some disagreements in the couple, when the Family Judge grants her custody of her children, Mr. Shaban decides to abduct them. For the first three months, the children’s whereabouts was unknown for three months until, thanks to the joint negotiations of the Argentine Press, diplomacy and government they discover they were all in Jordan. Gabriela sees them again in December 1998 thanks to a constant claim to international bodies and that the Argentine government took the case as a State issue obliging Jordan to listen to the claims for the rights of the children to see their mother again.
The situation lived with her children awakened in Gabriela the need to create the “Niños Unidos para el Mundo” Foundation (“United Children for the World” or just “Foundchild”) – www.foundchild.org.ar – being the first NGO in world to address the restitution issue for the family and for the child which gives priority to the child’s place in the family, in the world and in the manner that Justice should act when the child’s essential rights have been violated. This established the need of creating a scientific department (Foundchild) with an interdisciplinary content that joins the legal part with the psychophysical and spiritual part of the child.
At the same time, Gabriela made significant headways regarding laws and treaties beyond her own conflict becoming a world referral in the fight for the Rights of the Child, being able to place and defend the boy/girl as primordial figure in the family (previously, judges and parents considered children as property).
She submitted projects to the Argentine Government in favor of the rights of the child for a full development of childhood.
Her actions extended to numerous governments of different countries around the world, international organizations and NGOs.
From her heartbreaking tragedy, she asked the world so that the States, governors, judges, lawyers and international organizations listened to her children’s voices thus achieving that, from her paradigmatic case, “the superior interest of every boy or girl” be considered as a State Issue.
Backed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she obligated to transcend private law to international public law giving a paradoxical turn IN JUSTICE, IN THE SCIENTIFIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL FRAMEWORKD AND IN THE GOVERNMENTS’S ACTION BEFORE INFANCY.
“Every State should take care and protect the child and his/her family. I, as Karim, Zahira and Sharif’s mother and starting from our terrible tragedy – “the parental abduction” – walked tirelessly so that they could be in contact with me in harmony with cultures and religions and so that they could recover their own liberty and identity. While there is so much tireless work for the rebuilding and REBONDING with his/her family, every boy and girl – during the affective, psychic, spiritual and physical growth – should be in FULL CONTACT WITH HIS/HER PARENTS. Who protects this right when such is infringed and violated? They are not the rights of the parents; they are the rights of the children, of infants, of childhood.”
Thanks to her constant work and commitment, Gabriela accomplished the following purposes as regards:
- That the States Party of the United Nations Organization knew about parental abduction. Gabriela was the first woman to expose her case in the special meetings of the Subcommittee and the Committee of Human Rights.
- For the first time in history a resolution was signed in the Organization of American States (OAS) denouncing the minors’ abduction and demanding the American Nations to subscribe to the following Conventions:
- CONVENTION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
- THE HAGUE CONVENTION ON MINORS’ ABDUCTION
- INTER-AMERICAN ON MINORS’ RESTITUTION
- From the pain of her children, and that of thousands of children, for the first time in history of the OAS, that the childhood issue be included in the agendas of the American Presidents taking as priority “the international abduction of minors by one of their parents.” (1998 – 1999 – 2000 – 2001 – 2002 – 2003 – 2004 – 2005).
- Thanks to Attorney Romano’s (President’s Emissary for this type of issues), Gabriela’s and that of the Foundation research work, an unpublished instrument was created: the Bilateral Convention for the children’s re-establishment of ties with their parents.
- Gabriela was received by his Excellence Judge of Judges Sheik Tamimi in Jordan, making possible that this new point of view – looking after and protecting the child’s life and upbringing above that of the parents’ – be considered by the Islam in Jordan. She could reach a final agreement with the children’s father for Karim, Zahira and Sharif’s superior interest. She turned over the children’s custody, and even terminated every proceeding and visits the children twice a year. She maintains a permanent bond with her children through Internet and telephone.
- In June 2010 Karim came to Argentina for the first time. Here he reunited with his Argentine family for the first time: grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. A new story begins for Karim with the possibility of integrating the East and the West.
- Foundchild is the first NGO in Latin America and Caribbean region to assist and give satisfactory and equitable solutions in defense of those children born from mixed or intercultural marriages. The first 5 months of work, 80 cases were received and since 1999, around 3,000 cases received council from Foundchild.
- Thanks to the legal and institutional work carried out by Foundchild, Argentina ratified the Inter-American Convention on Minors return in November 2000. Likewise, Brazil and Uruguay ratified The Hague Convention on International Return of Children.
- In April 2000, Gabriela presented to former Argentine President Dr. Fernando de la Rua, a project to create an International Family Court. One of the most remarkable aspects of this Court is that such arises from an optimum combination of experience which generates theory around childhood and its rights; the thought of jurisprudence that grows in reality and glimpses the underlying essence of problems.
- Foundchild has presented projects to the Argentine Parliament and that of the Mercosur in order to implement a prevention Program of Parental Abduction.
- In August 2002, Gabriela Arias Uriburu and Attorney Carlos Romano, on behalf of Foundchild, participated as special guests in the first Meeting of Governmental Experts on Minors Abduction within the OAS, which was held in Uruguay.
- Handling the parental abduction cases, and from the child’s point of view, countless SCIENTIFIC AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS – WHICH EXPLAIN THE PARADIGMATIC CHANGE THAT SHOULD BE MADE AND HOW IT SHOULD BE CARRIED OUT AND DEVELOPED IN FAVOR OF CHILDHOOD AND IN THE WORLD – have been developed.
At present, Foundchild is working in the scientific-academic field developing projects so that the children’s rights are actions in them and in their families, teaching the children, through their potentials, how to protect themselves and act as mediators between their parents and their needs.
- She boosted a Photo Contest on Human Values for boys, girls and adolescents.
- Director of “Sonrisas” (‘Smiles’) Magazine, created by Foundchild in October 2000.
- The Argentine Senate, on International Women’s Day (year 2000) gave her a recognition for the Argentine Women’s work. She was called upon together with 20 other women to receive the recognition for having created Foundchild after what she suffered with her children.
- Author of the book “¡Ayuda! Quiero a mis hijos” (“Help! I want my kids”) published by Planeta in December 1998.
- In 2003, she co-conduced the TV program “Siempre Así” (“Always Like This”) on air through Channel 13 in Argentina. Gabriela was in charge of the Society and International sections, where she implemented the first humanitarian column in Argentine TV.
- She writes on Childhood, published in the Argentine newspapers.
- She wrote her second book “Jordania, la travesía en busca de mis hijos” (“Jordan, The Trip to Fetch My Kids”) published by Atlántida in April 2005.
- In 2005, Gabriela was columnist in one of the most important woman’s magazines in Argentina, “Para Ti” (“For You”) of Atlantida Publishing House.
- Gabriela, who is always invited to participate in uncountable lectures, assisted to the International Congress of Jurists in India to speak about her experience on the defense of the rights of the child in the world.
- As she met people who suffered tragedies or lived overcoming stories, she decided to join TV Producer Maria Rosa Grandinetti and Script Writer Axel Nacher to create a TV program format or documentary.
- “Encuentro y Sanación” (“Encounter and Healing”) and “Lo heroic de su viaje” (“The heroic part of her trip”) are a workshop and a lecture that Gabriela created to help people to discover and develop the potential we all have to make life possible (based on her own experience of 12 years of struggle).
- Gabriela found in yoga the way to restore her psychic, physical and spiritual health and therefore she decided to study and graduated as yoga teacher in 2010.
- Gabriela, from her home, and with the Foundation ON-LINE, continues giving advice to thousands and thousands of cases.
Gabriela, while she lived in Guatemala, studied Communication Sciences.
In December 1997, she obtained the Reflexology Degree.
Between 1991 and 1997, Gabriela was a housewife and Karim, Zahira and Sarif’s mother.
Gabriela Arias Uriburu assumes her children’s situation as a “leading case”, imposing perseverance and universality to her request.
Gabriela’s children represent a problem of multicultural childhood abducted in history in the whole world and with no solution for the moment by man.
Gabriela has reached to a successful end and approach with her children,
where there are no antecedents,
a new road with no counter-abductions or parental losses.
Karim, Zahira and Sharif, after an arduous path of personal work made by Gabriela,
are recovering the family ambit and that both parents are joining forces for their own benefit.
With Karim’s visit, undoubtedly closes years of struggle and a new story starts of a free bridge towards the integration of cultures, religions, territories and families.
Gabriela’s fight made her become a Multicultural Ambassador developing communication devices and cultural and religious interrelation between the East and the West.