Ahead of the October Special Session on the 1980 Child Abduction Convention, we have sent this open letter, signed by over 90 international experts, with the following requests:
1. A recognition, reflected in the summary and conclusions of the Special Session, that improvement is needed in the implementation of the Hague Abduction Convention for survivors of domestic abuse who flee for safety with their children. A commitment by the Permanent Bureau and State Parties to improve matters in this regard.
2. An agreement, reflected in the summary and conclusions of the Special Session, to assemble a new working group with the specific purpose of advancing improvements to the application of the Hague Abduction Convention for this population.
We have received a very positive interim reply from the Secretary-General in which he has agreed to circulate the letter to all delegates, and assured us that the issue of domestic violence in relation to Article 13b (grave risk) will be on the agenda.
He has also offered to meet with us to discuss the concerns we have raised.
Our thanks to every one of the signatories.
Thanks too to UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls, Reem Alsalem, UN Special Rapporteur Sexual Exploitation of Children Mama Fatima Singhateh, and UN Special Rapporteur Torture Dr Alice Edwards, for their letter to the The Hague Conference which raises similar concerns (see update here).
We are particularly grateful to Reem Alsalem for her advice to, and ongoing support for, our campaign.