The Convention has been in force between the United States and Brazil since 2003. In 2017, Brazil demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, Brazil’s judicial branch regularly failed to implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 35 percent (seven cases involving eight children) 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 five years and 11 months. Brazil has been cited as noncompliant since 2006.
Report of Actions Taken:
Throughout the year, officials at the highest levels of the Department engaged with the Government of Brazil on the issue of international parental child abduction. The U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, and the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues pressed Brazil to assist with resolving abduction cases and to address the ongoing issue of judicial delays.
In June 2017, Department officials traveled to Brazil and met with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MRE) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to discuss Brazil’s noncompliance with the Convention. The MOJ Secretary acknowledged U.S. concerns over the long-standing IPCA cases and officials at MRE and MOJ both supported hosting a judicial symposium on IPCA.
In July 2017, Department officials met with the Brazilian Ambassador to analyze progress on bilateral agenda items including IPCA.
In August 2017, senior officials from U.S. Embassy Brasilia met with the Brazilian Central Authority (BCA) and a Brazilian Hague Network Judge to discuss pervasive compliance issues and to support judicial symposium initiatives.
In November and December 2017, Brazilian IPCA stakeholders, including officials from the BCA, the MRE, the Association of Federal Judges, and a Hague Network Judge, held two Convention-specific judicial symposia. The Office of Children’s Issues and U.S. Embassy Brasilia attended the symposia and sponsored the participation of three Convention experts: two U.S. Hague Network Judges, and a representative from the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
In January 2018, the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs traveled to Brazil to participate in the Annual Bilateral Consular Dialogue. The dialogue addressed the detrimental effects judicial delays have on Convention cases and the steps the Brazilians are taking to improve compliance, including judicial outreach and consolidation of jurisdictions in the judiciary.
In March 2018, senior officials from U.S. Embassy Brasilia met with a senior Minister of the Brazilian National Council of Justice to discuss judicial delays and possible procedural reforms that could prioritize and streamline Convention case processing in the judiciary.
In April 2018, the Special Advisor for the Office of Children’s Issues traveled to Brazil to discuss IPCA and Brazil’s efforts to comply with the Convention. The Special Advisor met with senior Brazilian judicial and executive branch officials who discussed enacting procedural guidelines to expedite and prioritize Convention cases in the judiciary.
Upon release of the 2018 Annual Report, U.S. Embassy Brasilia delivered a demarche to the Brazilian government noting that the Department had cited Brazil in the 2018 Annual Report as demonstrating patterns of noncompliance and once again requested Brazil’s assistance with resolving longstanding cases.