International parental abduction has been a growing problem. Since the late 1970’s, the United States Department of State has processed more than 8,000 cases of American children abducted to foreign countries by a parent.
In many instances, these cross-border custody disputes have taken children abroad, and far from their familiar environments, leaving behind a mother, or a father, or perhaps both parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives, and friends. For these children, it means separation from those nearest and dearest to them. It also means, in many cases, being forced to adapt to an entirely different culture, language, religious faith, and national identity.
To combat this situation, on October 22nd, 2010, the United States signed the Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.
This agreement requires international recognition and enforcement of, among other things, custody, visitation, and provisional measures of protection; and it complements and reinforces the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of International Adoption, as well as the Hague Convention on the international Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. This new agreement also contains provisions addressing cooperation on key issues such as runaway children and the cross-border placement of children in foster families or institutional care.
"Signing this Convention reaffirms the deep commitment of the United States to protecting the rights and welfare of children around the world," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. "Going forward, the State Department will work closely with Congress, other Federal agencies, and state and local officials to address implementation of the Convention in the United States. And we look forward to working with the Hague Conference on private International Law and other countries to implement it around the world."