Monday, June 22, 2020

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

The U.S. State Department has recently released their annual report on International Child Abduction. The Department of State leads the U.S. government’s efforts to prevent and resolve international parental child abductions, as part of the Department’s mission to advance the interests and safety of the American people.

The 2020 Annual Report on International Child Abduction illustrates the Department of State’s efforts to prevent and resolve international parental child abductions during 2019. Despite continued progress, during 2019 some countries demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance as defined in the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2014. This Report cites ten such countries.


Country Summary: The Convention has been in force between the United States and Argentina since 1991. In 2019, Argentina continued to demonstrate a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the Argentine judicial authorities persistently failed to implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 100 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. Argentina was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2014-2019 Annual Reports.

Initial Inquiries: In 2019, the Department received seven initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Argentina for which no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Significant Developments: In March, the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues traveled to Argentina to emphasize best practices for Hague Abduction Convention implementation. During this visit, the Department raised concerns with the length of time to resolve cases, specifically encouraging Argentine officials to address judicial delays. Following the Special Advisor’s visit, the legislation, introduced in 2018 and designed to address judicial delays, was approved by the Argentine Senate. The legislation must go through additional approvals before becoming law in Argentina. Central Authority: The United States and the Argentine Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship.

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 2019, 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. It took 52 days to locate this child.
Judicial Authorities: There were serious delays by the Argentine 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: In one longstanding case, Argentina did not enforce a return order for several years. Additionally, Argentina’s legal system allows multiple appeals both on the merits of the decision and on the manner in which the decisions are enforced, thereby creating excessive delays.
Access: In 2019, the U.S. Central Authority had one open access case under the Convention in Argentina. This case was opened in 2018. This case has been filed with the Argentine Central Authority. By December 31, 2019, this case remained open. This case has been pending with the Argentine authorities for more than 12 months.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Argentine authorities to address issues of concern.