Pakistan & The Hague Convention

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Thursday, September 1, 2016.

Pakistan might sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. What does The Hague have to do with child custody?

In Pakistan, The Hague Convention has received approval almost unanimously by the Cabinet. The only words of reluctance for it have been, predictably, from the Council of Islamic Ideology.

“As with the Women’s Protection Act, and the honor crimes bills, the necessity is to continue on the right path, despite the whimpering and protests of an archaic group.”

The Hague Abduction Convention is a treaty that many countries, including the United States, have joined. The purposes of the Convention are to protect children from abduction by a parent by:

(1) Encouraging the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence, and

(2) Securing rights of access to a child.

I’ve written about child custody issues before, The basic idea behind The Hague Convention is that child custody and visitation matters should generally be decided by the proper court in the country of the child’s habitual residence.

The Convention does not apply to every international parental child abduction case. First and foremost, your country must be a signatory country to the Convention. Additionally, you must show:

– That your child was wrongfully removed to or retained in another Convention country;

– The Convention was in force between the two countries when the wrongful removal or retention occurred

– The child is under the age of 16 at the time of filing of the application.

Under the Convention, a country may refuse to return an abducted child or grant access to the child if:

– There is a grave risk that the child would be exposed to physical or psychological harm or otherwise placed in an intolerable situation in his or her country of habitual residence;

– The child objects to being returned and has reached an age and degree of maturity at which the court can take account of the child’s views; or

– The return would violate the fundamental principles of human rights and freedoms of the country where the child is being held.

In Pakistan, the Convention is required if Pakistani children are stranded abroad and a parent with custody wants to force the child’s return. Many countries – such as the U.S. – advise against traveling to Pakistan because Pakistan is a non-signatory country.

The article in The Nation is here.