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 US).
For the 2020 report (looking at cases from 2019), 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.
2020 Non-Compliant Countries:
– Argentina (with a specific note about the length of time for Argentina to resolve cases, although new legislation is progressing in the Argentine legislature to hopefully address this issue)
– 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 and failure to implement the treaty)
– Egypt (with a note that Egyptian authorities failed to locate a child abducted from the US to Egypt and has persistently failed to work with the US Department of State to resolve cases)
– India (with a note that India has persistently failed to work with the US Department of State to resolve cases and reference to the lack of a clear legal procedure 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 in processing abduction cases in the Peruvian Central Authority)
– Romania (citing to a failure to enforce a return order, delays in reaching resolutions)
– UAE (citing to a lack of laws to facilitate the return of children)
Missing from the list is Japan, which moved from the “non-compliant” list to the “compliant” list in 2019 (citing to 2018 case statistics) because the Japanese Diet passed an amendment to the Japanese Implementing Legislation for the 1980 Convention, which has now gone into place as of April 2020. The amendment aimed to improve enforcement of abduction return orders.