Doc. 10487

31 March 2005

Right of return of Layla Löfving

Written question No 462 to the Committee of Ministers

Reply from the Committee of Ministers

adopted at the 920th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (23 March 2005)

I. Written Question No. 462 by Mr Lindblad (Doc. 10398)

Ayla Löfving will be 12 years in ten days. She is not going to celebrate her birthday with her mother and sisters and class mates. She was kidnapped by her father Mustafa Dagoglu on August 16, 2004 during a holiday stay in Turkey. Since then Ayla has not had any contact with her mother who is the legal custodian. Her father refuses to let her return home to Sweden.

The Swedish authorities are involved in Ayla’s case in order to repatriate Ayla as soon as possible. Representatives of the Swedish Embassy in Turkey have recently been in contact with the Turkish Ministry of Justice, representatives of which have stated that Mustafa Dagoglu, being father to Ayla, has not committed any crime according to the Turkish law.

Internationalisation of family relationship has been a topical issue for the Council of Europe for decades. The first convention concerning the repatriation of minors was opened for signature 1970. This convention has not entered into force but Turkey has signed and ratified the convention. Turkey has shown its readiness and commitment to solve this kind of problems according to internationally agreed principles also by signing and ratifying the European Conventions on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children (ETS No.105) and on the Exercise of Children’s Rights (ETS No. 160) as well as by signing the recent convention of Contact concerning Children (ETS No. 192).

The Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children protects custody and provides for free, prompt, non-bureaucratic assistance from central authorities designated by each party in discovering the whereabouts and restoring custody of a child improperly removed.

Ayla is a child. It is her right to come back home. Her father with his family with political influence and contacts is not willing to let her return home to Sweden and is probably in a position to manipulate the Turkish authorities. What can the Committee of Ministers do to discover the whereabouts of Ayla and secure her return to Sweden?

II. Reply by the Committee of Ministers

1.       The Committee of Ministers is pleased to be able to inform the Honourable Parliamentarian that, according to the latest information it received, Ayla Löfving has returned to Sweden with her mother.

2.       The Committee of Ministers had previously been informed by the Turkish authorities that they had taken legal action, in accordance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, in order to find Ayla Löfving and secure her return to her home. The whereabouts of the child and her father had been identified and the public prosecutor had decided to initiate legal proceedings in the Elazığ Family Court. In addition, Ayla’s mother had been able to have daily telephone contact with her daughter at certain hours. In response to the concerns of the mother about her own security if she went to Turkey, the Turkish authorities stated their readiness to take all necessary measures to secure her stay. The Turkish Ministry of Justice recommended the mother to appoint a lawyer to represent her, in order that the judicial proceedings before the Court could be finalised as soon as possible.

3.       The Swedish authorities have expressed their appreciation of the actions taken by Turkish authorities, in accordance with international law, to order the return of Ayla to Sweden, to protect her mother during her stay in Turkey, and to lift the travel restrictions for Ayla in order to allow her to return to her country of habitual residence.

4.       On a general note, the Committee of Ministers underlines the importance of swift action by the authorities concerned in cases relating to child abduction, in conformity with the international legal instruments regulating such cases.