What laws are in place to ensure the safe return of the children who have been abducted?
We have laws within Canada (epecoa) and in terms of international abductions, we have the Hague convention which currently has 93 state parties. This convention provides for the return of a child (under 16 years old) who has been abducted to another state that is also a party to the convention.
The authorities in the state where the child has been taken are required to return the child to the state of his or her habitual residence subject to certain exceptions. The convention can also help in attempts to exercise access rights. However, the mandatory return mechanism only applies to custody rights.
The Hague convention does not provide rules for the determination of custody and access, but leaves those decisions to the legal system in the state where the child was habitually resident prior to the removal.