Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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

The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. Below is our second post in a series here focusing on the nine countries classified as “demonstrating patterns of noncompliance.”  Today’s country is Brazil.
Country Summary: The Convention has been in force between the United States and Brazil since 2003. In 2018, Brazil demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the Brazilian judicial authorities persistently failed to regularly implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 44 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 five years and 10 months. Brazil was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2006-2017 Annual Reports
Significant Developments: In September 2018, the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, Ministry of External Relations, and judiciary along with officials from the U.S. Central Authority and a U.S. Hague Network Judge participated in the second annual judicial seminar aimed at providing judges with additional guidance related to the Convention. The National Council for Justice also drafted and issued guidelines to the Brazilian judiciary focused on expediting Convention cases. 
Central Authority: The United States and the Brazilian Central Authority have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.
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 three months and six days. As of December 31, 2018, there is one case where the Brazilian authorities remain unable to initially locate a child. 
Judicial Authorities: There were serious delays by the Brazilian judicial authorities in deciding Convention cases. As a result of these delays, cases may be pending with the judiciary for over one year, contributing to a pattern of noncompliance. 
Enforcement: While courts in Brazil ordered returns under the Convention, the Brazilian judicial authorities were not always able to enforce these orders. In one notable case, after nine years of litigation at all levels of the Brazilian judiciary, the Brazilian court still failed to enforce its own order for return. 
Access: In 2018, the U.S. Central Authority acted on a total of seven open access cases under the Convention in Brazil. Of these, one case was opened in 2018. This case was filed with the Brazilian Central Authority in 2018. By December 31, 2018, four cases (57% percent) have been resolved. Of those resolved, two were a result of a voluntary agreement between the parents. As of December 31, 2018, three cases remained open. Two cases have been pending with the Brazilian authorities for more than 12 months. 
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Brazilian authorities to address issues of concern.