Sunday, October 25, 2009

Korea Reportedly Moving Towards Signing the Hague Abduction Convention

Korea is apparently taking steps towards signing the Hague Abduction Convention.

This would be a major step forward in the prevention of international child abduction.

Korea Mulls Signing Treaty to Protect Kids

Korea is moving to sign an international treaty to protect children against parental abuse and possible abduction in cases of multi-cultural marriage breakdown.

A government source said the nation is inching closer to joining the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction.

The multilateral treaty signed by 81 countries provides a mechanism that ensures the prompt return of children taken to another country by a divorced parent seeking a court ruling in their favor.

"Korea has long been mulling the signing of the treaty to counter international custody disputes, which have been on the rise because of an increase in the number of multi-cultural marriages, and the unstable economy," the source said.

The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs have been reviewing the issue.

According to U.S. Department of State officials, more than 1,000 American children were abducted and taken to a foreign country by a parent in 2008, up from 642 in 2005.

It is tough and complex to repatriate a child from countries that have not signed the pact such as Korea, Japan and the Philippines, as court rulings in previous jurisdictions can easily be overturned.

The U.S. State Department warns on its Web site over possible custody disputes with Korea.

"Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable directly under Korean law," it says.

By Lee Tae-hoon,10/25/09, Staff Reporter