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1980 Child Abduction Convention celebrates its 40th anniversary

On 25 October 2020, the 1980 Child Abduction Convention celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Child Abduction Convention has become one of the most visible HCCH Conventions since its entry into force on 1 December 1983. At its 40th anniversary, it counts more than a hundred Contracting Parties that span every continent.

The Child Abduction Convention is a crucial instrument for the international protection of children. It establishes a mechanism of cooperation between Central Authorities, ensuring a rapid procedure for the return of a wrongfully removed or retained child to the State of his or her habitual residence. The framework of protection that the Convention has put in place also acts as a deterrent to international child abductions. The Convention gives effect to the fundamental rights of the child, for instance, to maintain contact with his or her parents.

The six Guides to Good Practice under the Child Abduction Convention published by the HCCH have touched upon different topics such as mediation, enforcement and the exception of non-return provided for in Article 13(1)(b). The Convention has inspired the establishment of the 'Malta process', the International Hague Network of Judges, and a case law database on international child abduction (INCADAT).