The U.S. Department of State issues a yearly “compliance” report, as mandated by Congress, that visits outstanding child abduction cases from the United States to other countries and explores some of the underlying reasons behind why certain cases remain unresolved. The report includes both countries where there is a treaty relationship with the United States under the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention and countries where there is no treaty relationship (and, perhaps, no laws in place to facilitate the return of a child to the U.S.).
For the 2021 report (looking at cases from 2020), the below countries were designated as “non-compliant” by the United States. Non-compliance relates to a country’s “persistent failure” to abide by legal obligations to return children or work with the U.S. government to resolve cases. Under ICAPRA, a “persistent failure” is where 30% or more of all abduction cases remain unresolved; the foreign country’s Central Authority fails to fulfill its obligations under the Hague Abduction Convention or any bilateral agreements; the judicial or administrative branch fails to implement and comply with the Hague Abduction Convention or bilateral agreements; or, law enforcement regularly fails to enforce return or access orders.
2021 Non-Compliant Countries:
- Argentina (with a note that their judiciary has serious delays in resolving cases)
- Brazil (with a specific note that the Brazilian judiciary has a persistent failure to implement and comply with the treaty, and difficulty enforcing its own orders)
- Costa Rica (with a note about significant judicial delays)
- Ecuador (with a note about significant judicial delays)
- Egypt (with a note that there is no clear legal procedure for addressing abduction cases)
- India (with a note that India has persistently failed to work with the U.S. Department of State to resolve cases and reference to the lack of a clear legal options under Indian law to address child abduction cases)
- Jordan (with a reference to the lack of legal procedures to address child abduction cases)
- Peru (citing to a significant delay by Peruvian judicial authorities)
- Romania (citing delays in reaching resolutions)
- Trinidad and Tobago (citing delays in the appellate level of the Trinidad and Tobago courts)
- UAE (citing a refusal to work with the U.S. authorities to resolve cases)
The list of non-compliant countries mirrored the 2020 list. Only Trinidad and Tobago was added to this year’s list. None of the countries from the 2020 list were removed.