Thursday, July 16, 2020
Pakistan and the Hague Abduction Convention
The United States has now accepted Pakistan’s accession to the 1980 Hague Abduction Convention. The Convention will enter into force between the two countries on October 1, 2020.
It is not clear whether the decision to accept the accession is a result of a dispassionate review of the Pakistani laws, regulations and processes that are designed to implement the Convention or whether the decision is a political one by the Trump administration.
The mere fact that the treaty is in force does not mean that it will be effective.
Pakistan has been consistently non-compliant with international norms concerning the return of children who are abducted to Pakistan. In prior years, the U.S. State Department reported frequently to Congress that that was the case.
Unless and until Pakistan has established a clear track record of compliance with the treaty, including compliance with the express obligation to return abducted children expeditiously within a target of six weeks from the commencement of judicial proceedings, it is my opinion that great skepticism should be reserved before allowing children to visit Pakistan over the good faith opposition of a potentially left-behind parent.
It is also essential to understand that the Convention contains no provisions that will require recognition and enforcement of foreign custody orders.