International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (Europe)


Fourth Special Commission Meeting to review the operation of the Convention.
The Hague, March 22-28, 2001

The first two Special Commissions to review the operation of the Hague Convention were held in 1989 and 1993. The third Special Commission took place from 17-21 March 1997. At that time, there were forty-five States who were party to the Convention. Since 1997 a further seventeen States have become party to the Convention, four by ratification or analogous procedure.

The Fourth Special Commission will be held in The Hague, on 22-28 March 2001. The Member States only meet every four years and because of this, it is of the utmost importance for us to ensure that this time really useful and practical steps are taken. Information about the Special Commission can be found on the Hague Bureau web site at

ICMEC will be attending the Hague Special Review Commission as an observer. We will present a paper which will elaborate in detail what was agreed at the ICMEC/NCMEC Forum on International Child Abduction held in November 2000 and recommend that the Hague Conference on Private International Law produces and promotes a "Best Practice Guide" to assist signatory states in the interpretation and implementation of the Hague Convention. Please read our statement.

Thanks to our cooperation with the State Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, both countries are taking a strong lead in this process. Both countries attach a high priority to achieving practical improvements to the Convention.

ICMEC sincerely hopes that the fourth Special Commission will unanimously accept our recommendation.

Abduction by the Child's Primary Caretaker

As part of its preparations for the Fourth Special Commission meeting, the Permanent Bureau issued in April 2000 Preliminary Document No 6.

On page 5 of Annex 1, Professor Duncan discusses abduction by the child's primary caretaker, with particular reference to a proposal from the UK NGO, reunite. ICMEC wishes to make its position clear on this proposal.

Ernie Allen and Catherine Meyer, co-founders, ICMEC

Ernie and Catherine welcome any views from visitors to our website about this particular issue. Please Contact us.