International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC)



FROM: Ernie Allen, President and CEO

Lady Meyer, President and CEO/Europe


DATE: 17 March 2001


RE: ICMEC’s Report and Recommendations to the IVth Special Commission on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“Hague Convention”)

Statement of ICMEC and Working Document

ICMEC is aware that the problem of international child abduction requires bold and far-reaching solutions. Over the past two years, ICMEC, in conjunction with The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), hosted two International Forums on Parental Child Abduction. Both forums were attended by professionals and experts who are directly involved in the Hague Convention. ICMEC’s aim was to devise a concrete plan of action and recommendations to provide at the Hague Convention’s IVth Special Commission.

The goal of ICMEC’s most recent Best Practices Forum, held on 1 and 2 November 2000, was for participants to explore such topics as the speed of processing cases, legal aid, enforcement of orders, safeguards for children and returning parents, among others. In addition, we utilised this meeting to review progress of the April 1999 International Forum on Parental Child Abduction.

Hague Convention Action Agenda, including:

  1. Creating greater awareness;
  2. Calling for meaningful data, including case outcomes country by country and a database of judicial decisions;
  3. Training for lawyers, judges, law enforcement and others;
  4. Improving speed of handling cases;
  5. Providing support for victim parents;
  6. Addressing the serious problem of access;
  7. Expanding the Convention to more countries.

The results of ICMEC’s November 2000 Best Practices Forum are attached.

ICMEC’s commitment is to ensure that meaningful and tangible results ensue from the IVth Special Commission meeting on 22-28 March 2001. Over 60 States Parties will be represented at this meeting, and for progress to be made on any issue, there must be consensus among a large majority of the signatory countries in attendance. While we recognise that in too many cases, the protections of international law and treaty simply do not work, we are also aware that any changes to the Hague Convention would need to be approved by enough Member States in order for them to be implemented. Therefore, to ensure that some progress is made at the IVth Special Commission, ICMEC strongly urges all States Parties to the Hague Convention to support the recommendation that the Permanent Bureau produce and promote Practice Guides to assist in the implementation and operation of the Hague Convention (see attachment entitled, “ICMEC’s Statement and Working Document”). ICMEC is confident that if the members of the IVth Special Commission adopt this resolution, it will be a small, albeit extremely positive step toward the creation a more uniform and standardized approach to the Hague Convention based upon an international assessment of best practices.

Thank You.