Backgrounder - Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction


The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty seeking to protect children under the age of 16 from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention and to establish procedures to ensure their prompt return to the state of their habitual residence, as well as to secure protection for the rights of custody and of access under the laws of the convention’s contracting states. The convention was concluded on October 25, 1980, and entered into force internationally on December 1, 1983.

On December 22, 2016, Pakistan deposited its accession instrument and became the convention’s 96th contracting state. The convention as of today has entered into force for Pakistan.

Canada ratified the convention, which applies to all Canadian provinces and territories, in 1983. Canada currently applies the convention with 79 other contracting states.

Since 2009, Canada and Pakistan have also engaged in the Malta Process and have co-chaired the Working Party on Cross-Border Family Mediation, established in the context of the Malta Process. The Malta Process promotes co-operation with countries with legal systems influenced by or based upon Islamic legal traditions for the international protection of children and the resolution of complex, trans-boundary family conflicts. The working party facilitates the development of mediation structures to resolve cross-border family disputes where the convention does not apply.

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