This week I’m discussing a recent meeting of several of my US based LBP Colleagues, who recently went to Washington D.C. to Talk to members of congress, White House staff and The Helsinki commission.
Nearly 1,000 American children a year are victims of international parental child abduction. International parental child abduction occurs when one parent removes a child from the child’s country of habitual residence, or retains a child outside the country of habitual residence, in contravention of the other parent’s custody rights. The experience of the abduction and the subsequent loss of contact with the left-behind parent is very traumatic for the child as well as devastating for the left-behind parent. Between 2008 and 2016, nearly 11,000 American children were abducted, according to the U.S. Department of State.
In order to quickly resolve abductions in civil court, minimize emotional damage to children, and ensure that the custody decisions of one country are respected in other countries, the international community adopted the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in 1983. Currently, 51 of 57 OSCE participating States and seven of 11 OSCE partner States are signatories of the Convention.
However, governments of many signatory countries consistently fail to enforce return orders; some even revoking the return orders after their failure to enforce. Returns under the Convention are surprisingly infrequent and painfully slow—leading the United States to look at enforcement mechanisms, such as sanctions and criminal extradition.
The briefing examined the measures that have been most effective in resolving international parental child abduction.
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