6 October 1999
Abduction of children by one of the parents
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Ms Guirado and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and only expresses the views of the members who have signed it
1. The Assembly notes that in spite of the European Convention on recognition and enforcement of decisions concerning custody of children and on restoration of custody of children and of The Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction, many children of divorced or separated parents are wrongfully taken across international frontiers.
2. The Assembly believes that this constitutes abduction even if perpetrated by one of the child’s parent.
Very often, in the case of marriages between spouses of different nationalities, the child, even if not born in the country, automatically possesses the nationality of the country to which he or she is taken by force, which makes the restoration of custody extremely difficult.
3. It believes that the above-mentioned European Convention, whose purpose is the restoration of child custody by means of judicial co-operation between the authorities of different countries, provides only an imperfect means of dealing with abduction, because in many countries abduction by a parent is not a crime.
4. It is aware that child abduction is sometimes prompted by failure to respect the visiting rights of the parent who does not have custody.
It believes that the child’s interest overrides all other considerations and that court decisions must be obeyed by both parents, especially with regard to the visiting rights of the parent who does not have custody.
5. Accordingly, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
i. catalogue the problems relating to child custody and abduction;
ii. invite member states which have not yet done so to ratify the relevant existing conventions;
iii. strengthen the role of the central authorities established by the European Convention on recognition and enforcement of decisions concerning custody of children and on restoration of custody of children and by The Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction;
iv. adopt as quickly as possible, after seeking the opinion of the Assembly, the draft convention being drawn up on visiting rights;
v. consider whether child abduction by parents ought to be made a crime.
Signed : 1
Guirado, Spain, SOC
Alis Font, Andorra, NR
Bartumeu Cassany, Andorra, SOC
Behrendt, Germany, SOC
Bergqvist, Sweden, SOC
Biga-Friganovic, Croatia, SOC
Clerfayt, Belgium, LDR
Davis, United Kingdom, SOC
Etherington, United Kingdom, SOC
Gross, Switzerland, SOC
Herczog, Hungary, SOC
Ruffy, Switzerland, SOC
Solonari, Moldova, SOC
Steolea, Romania, EDG
Stepová, Czech Republic, SOC
Wohlwend, Liechtenstein, EPP/CD
1 SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
EDG:European Democratic Group
LDR : Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
UEL : Group of the Unified European Left
NR : Not registered in a group