Friday, May 24, 2019

State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction: Lebanon

The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our seventh post in a series here focusing on the nine countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Lebanon.
Country Summary: Lebanon does not adhere to any protocols with respect to international parental child abduction. In 2004, the United States and Lebanon signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage voluntary resolution of abduction cases and facilitate consular access to abducted children. In 2018, Lebanon demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the competent authorities in Lebanon persistently failed to work with the Department of State to resolve abduction cases. As a result of this failure, 50 percent of requests for the return of abducted children remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average, these cases were unresolved for two years and one month. Lebanon was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2015 and 2016 Annual Reports.
Initial Inquiries: In 2018 the Department received one initial inquiry from a parent regarding a possible abduction to Lebanon for which no additional assistance was requested or necessary documentation was not received as of December 31, 2018.

Central Authority: In 2018, the competent authorities in Lebanon worked closely with the Department of State to discuss improvements to the resolution of pending abduction cases. However, the options for resolving these cases under Lebanese law are limited.
Voluntary Resolution: In 2018, one abduction case was resolved through voluntary means.
Location: The Department of State did not request assistance with location from the Lebanese authorities.
Judicial Authorities: There is no clear legal procedure for addressing international parental child abduction cases under Lebanese law, and parents face difficulties resolving custody disputes in local courts.
Enforcement: Judicial decisions in Lebanon were generally not enforced, which contributed to a pattern of noncompliance. There was one case (accounting for 33 percent of the unresolved cases) that has been pending for more than 12 months in which law enforcement has failed to enforce a return order.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue to encourage Lebanon to accede to the Convention