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Fathers' rights activist takes campaign to Scottish Parliament

Ron Park wants family courts to enforce paternity testing 'in extreme cases'.

Scottish Parliament: Debating the economy.

A man fighting to see his baby son is calling for a change in the law so unmarried fathers have the right to be part of their children's lives.

Ron Park wants family courts to enforce paternity testing "in extreme cases".

He says all efforts should be made to ensure both parents are named on birth certificates, where it is in the best interests of the child.

Mr Park set up an online campaign about his attempts to see his son, who was born last year.

"His mother has refused to let me see him at all. There is no protection issue, no order to remove me, she simply felt like she wanted rid of me," he wrote.

He says there are an estimated 160,080 separated fathers and 295,000 children in Scotland alone whose rights are "unprotected under our current laws".

Mr Park said he took legal advice following the birth of his son, but added: "It turns out that if his mother does not consent to a DNA test to be carried out, not even a court can force her."

He said he is not prepared to accept the situation.

"My fight had just became bigger, it's more than just seeing my son now," he added. "My fight is to help all separated dads in my situation, fathers who had children born out of wedlock and have, in the eyes of the law, absolutely no rights to anything. This must change.

"At the heart of my fight will always be my simple desire to hold my little boy, but it is clear to me that I am not just fighting his mother for this right. I'm now fighting the entire legal system. Fighting for change, for me and for every other father failed by our outdated and frankly inadequate judiciary system."

Mr Park was due to outline his case in person before MSPs on Holyrood's public petitions committee but was unable to take part as planned.

Instead, a statement was read out on his behalf by his mother, Margaret Park.

"I feel this has to change and feel my proposals set forth are a step in the right direction to rectify this terrible situation we continue to place some children in," she told the committee.

"Mothers and fathers have to be considered equal in terms of rights and accountability and responsibility.

"A child needs both, and if that is at all possible and in the child's best interest, this is what we should be striving for, for every single one."

About ten per cent of the births registered in Scotland in 2011 were registered to a sole parent, the committee heard.

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