The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Manila Bulletin, August 18, 2015 | Go to article overview

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction


As a mother and grandmother, ensuring the safety, health, and happiness of my children and grandchildren is paramount. As special advisor to the office of Children's Issues, I seek the same for all children across the world, especially those who are victims of international parental child abduction. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction's mission is to protect the world's most vulnerable citizens, its children, from the harmful effects of international parental child abduction, by securing the prompt return of a child who has been abducted from or retained outside their country of habitual residence, in violation of custodial rights.

The clear international consensus on the convention's benefits is demonstrated by the more than 90 countries that have joined the growing convention community. Historically, parties to the convention were concentrated primarily in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. However, this has changed as more countries in East Asia and the Pacific have taken a stance to uphold the convention's principles. I am proud that the United States stands with this impressive group of countries, which includes Sri Lanka, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. It is my sincere hope that it will not be long before the Philippines unites with this group of nations.

With ten million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and the rise of bi-national marriages, the convention's importance for the Philippines and its citizens could not be more relevant or urgent. It is no longer unusual to know an aunt, neighbor, friend, colleague, uncle, sister, or cousin who has had a child abducted to a foreign country. If you do know someone, my next question may be difficult. Did that child ever return to the Philippines? The reality is that since the Philippines is not a party to the convention, it is not uncommon for abduction cases to remain unresolved for years, resulting in an often prolonged and painful separation between children and their parents. …

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