Trinidad and Tobago: AG meets US adviser on child abduction protocol

Source: Guardian

A joint meeting between the United States and T&T was held in the name of International Children’s Issues last Friday.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, centre, chats with US Ambassador Beatrice W Welters, left, and US State Department’s special adviser on children’s issues Susan Jacobs.

Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the US State Department’s special adviser on children’s issues, met with Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, who is also head of the Civil Child Abduction Authority, to discuss the shared goals and commitments to legal resolutions for child abduction.

The issues were discussed within the framework of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. As a consequence of decades of close ties and geographical proximity, many citizens of the United States and Trinidad and Tobago have roots in both countries—children have dual nationality, and parents of differing nationalities.

At times, children also bear the brunt of the stress of separation or divorce. Split between two parents and two cultures, they may even be taken by one parent to a country they have never previously known, unknown to the other parent. US ratified the Hague Abduction Convention in 1988, and T&T became a party to the Abduction Convention on September 1, 2000.

However, the two countries have not yet entered into “partnership” with one another, a status which would afford left-behind parents the full remedies of the Hague Treaty to resolve these abduction cases. In November 2011, as part of this Government’s initiative to bolster international relations and increased awareness of the rights and protection of children, the Government of T&T established the Civil Child Abduction Authority.

The legislation fulfilled one of the fundamental requirements for Hague partnership with the United States. Among the many issues raised was the need to facilitate the rights of abandoned children to enforce maintenance orders and child support against absconding and absent parents who migrated, and the need for a public education programme regarding the rights of the child.

Jacobs and Ramlogan discussed their common interests and goals in reducing child abduction in both countries, increasing public awareness of legal avenues to return children to their rightful home, and promoting social justice for children throughout the region. Both the US and T&T governments will continue ongoing bilateral collaborations to ensure the final steps are met for T&T to obtain full membership status in the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

It was anticipated that both countries will become contracting partners under the Hague Convention within the following months.

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