Islamabad: Pakistan and the United States have joined forces to resolve cases of international child abduction by parents between the two countries.
The US has accepted Pakistan’s accession to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Convention) that “will enter into force between the United States and Pakistan on October 1, 2020” the US State Department statement said. “As partners, we will enhance our shared commitment to protecting children and open a new chapter in the vibrant US-Pakistan relationship.”
The move will put in place an internationally recognised legal framework to resolve cases of parental child abduction between the two countries. With the new partnership, the US now has 80 partners under the Convention aimed at preventing and resolving cases of international parental child abduction.
Commitment to protect children
“Starting Oct. 1 the US & Pakistan will be able to work together under the Hague Abduction Convention to resolve parental child abduction cases between our two countries. This underscores our shared commitment to protecting children & further broadens US-Pakistan cooperation” reads the tweet by the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA).
“We are pleased to welcome Pakistan as the United States’ partner under the Hague Abduction Convention as of October 1. As partners, we will work to uphold our shared commitment to protecting children in cases of international parental child abduction,” the U.S. Secretary of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus shared on Twitter.
Pakistani experts welcome the partnership
Pakistani legal experts have welcomed the collaboration to secure the prompt return of children abducted to foreign countries by parents in the event of separation or divorce.
Talking to Gulf News, Barrister Taimur Malik said “now that the United States has accepted Pakistan’s accession to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, it will provide a legal basis for preventing parental child abduction cases involving the two countries”. He explained that although Pakistan acceded to the Convention in December 2016, this particular Convention “is unique for the reason that it becomes effective between two countries only upon acceptance of a country’s agreement by other states which are party to the Convention.”
What does the convention say?
The Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCCH 1980 Child Abduction Convention) is a multilateral treaty that seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of parental abduction to foreign countries by providing a legal procedure for their prompt return to the country of child’s habitual residence.
Vital tool to deter abduction
The Convention is a vital tool to address international parental child abduction. It provides a mechanism under civil law in either country for parents seeking the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside of their country of habitual residence in violation of custodial rights. Parents seeking access to children in treaty partner countries may also invoke the Convention.