UK: Is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

The goal of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is to facilitate return of internationally abducted children to their home states within a brief six weeks.

Unfortunately, this is a far cry from the reality.

According to an article written from the British perspective, one-third of children abducted from the UK to other countries which have signed the Hague Convention are not returned within a year. Several countries typically require well over a year, or even a couple of years, for cases to run the course of their legal system.

Some countries which are parties to the Hague Convention reportedly never return children. Others rarely do so.

According to the article, Hague Convention signatory countries least likely to return children to the UK (and, presumably, anywhere else) are:

  • Croatia

  • Ecuador

  • Honduras

  • Mauritius

  • Peru

  • Serbia

  • Sweden

  • Zimbabwe

According to the article, even the US refused to return one-third of abducted children.

Of course, some cases of non-return by Hague Convention signatories may be the result of good faith differences in findings of fact or good faith differences in the application of the law of the Convention (particularly the exceptions) to the facts of the cases.

But, if this is the track record of the countries that agreed to the Hague Convention, the even poorer track records of non-party countries shouldn’t be surprising.

Read more in this [UK] Guardian article: Third of abducted children not returned home after a year.