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Review of Hague Child Protection Conventions comes to an end

The second and final part of the Sixth Special Commission to review the practical operation of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction and 1996 Hague Child Protection Conventions has come to a close, where hundreds of experts from around the world gathered in the Academy Building of the Peace Palace to examine and discuss policy matters pertaining to both Conventions.


The Special Commission was convened primarily to ensure that these widely ratified multilateral instruments continue to protect the welfare and safety of children around the world.


The 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention applies typically where one parent has moved a child abroad without the consent of the other parent and without the permission of a court. In such a case, the “left behind” parent may apply through the Hague system for the prompt return of the child, and a “return order” will be issued unless the “taking parent” can establish that one of the exceptions found in the Convention should be applied. The Convention has been ratified or acceded to by 87 States.


The 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention provides for co-operation among States Parties on a wide range of cross-border child protection matters, e.g., parental disputes over contact with children, the protection of runaway children and cross-border care. The Convention currently counts 33 Contracting States, with many more States preparing to join. Most European Union States are already Parties to the Convention. Those EU States which are not yet Parties will become so in the near future.


The Special Commission made numerous conclusions and recommendations pertaining to these two Hague Conventions, including the following:

  • Exploratory work should be undertaken to identify and address the legal and practical issues related to the recognition and enforcement of agreements arrived at by parents in cross border family disputes.
  • The establishment of a working group composed of judges, Central Authorities and cross-disciplinary experts to consider the development of a reference tool to assist States in interpreting and implementing provisions of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention, including situations in which domestic violence may be present.
  • The continuation of work on the Malta Process to increase co-operation between Contracting States and jurisdictions based on Sharia law so that the best interests of children are paramount in all States participating in the programme.


Source: The Hague Conference on Private International Law


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