Tuesday, May 29, 2018

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Dominican Republic

The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our fifth post in a series here focusing on the twelve countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is the Dominican Republic.
Country Summary: The Hague Abduction Convention has been in force between the United States and the Dominican Republic since 2007. In 2017, the Dominican Republic demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the Dominican Republic’s judicial branch regularly fails to implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 20 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average these cases were unresolved for six years and eight months. The Dominican Republic has been cited since 2014.
Initial Inquiries: In 2017, the Department received three initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to the Dominican Republic where no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Central Authority: The United States and the Dominican Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.
Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities “shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues.” In 2017, one abduction case was resolved through voluntary means.

Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was nine days.
Judicial Authorities: Dominican judicial authorities demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance, with serious delays at the appellate level in deciding Convention cases. Cases that are appealed to higher courts have taken more than four years to resolve.
Enforcement: As a result of serious delays by the judicial authorities of the Dominican Republic in deciding Convention cases, the United States is not aware of any instances where law enforcement was asked to enforce a return order in 2017.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue its engagement with relevant Dominican authorities to address the areas of concern highlighted in this report.
Access: In 2017, the U.S. Central Authority had one open access case under the Convention in the Dominican Republic. This case was opened and initially filed with the Dominican Central Authority in 2017. As of December 31, 2017, this case remained open. No access cases have been pending with the Dominican authorities for more than 12 months.