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February 29, 2024 1:42 pm

India does not adhere to international parental child abduction protocols, says US report

Washington, May 3

India is among the 14 countries that do not adhere to any protocols concerning international parental child abduction (IPCA), according to a United States report.

The Department of State’s 2023 annual report on IPCA that was submitted to the US Congress on Tuesday was referring to a pattern of noncompliance.

“India does not adhere to any protocols with respect to international parental child abduction. In 2022, India continued to demonstrate a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the competent authorities in India persistently failed to work with the Department of State to resolve abduction cases,” it said.

“As a result of this failure, 65 per cent of requests for the return of abducted children remained unresolved for more than 12 months,” the report added.

The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980), signed by 96 countries, provides for a mechanism to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another.

On average, these cases remained unresolved for three years and ten months. The mediation cell, established in 2018 by the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights with the objective of mediating custody disputes, is yet to resolve any abduction cases between the United States and India, it said.

India was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2015-2022 annual reports. In 2022, the department received one initial inquiry from a parent regarding a possible abduction to India for which no additional assistance was requested or necessary documentation was received as of December 31, 2022.

After India formally refused the proposal for a US-India Joint Committee on IPCA in 2021, the department presented a new proposal to the Indian government to create a bilateral dialogue on IPCA following the US-India Consular Dialogue. In response to which, in October 2022, India hosted representatives from the Office of Children’s Issues in its capital and held IPCA discussions for the first time outside of the annual Consular Dialogue, it said.

The State Department said in 2022, the competent authorities in India regularly failed to work with the Department of State towards the resolution of pending abduction cases.

Moreover, the competent authorities have failed to resolve cases due to a lack of viable legal options, which contributed to a pattern of noncompliance, it added.

The other “non-complying” countries as stated by the report are Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Egypt, Honduras, Jordan, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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