26 June 2003
The International Child Abduction Database (INCADAT) has been established by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law with the object of making accessible on the Internet many of the leading judicial decisions taken by national courts around the world in respect of the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. INCADAT will be of value to Judges, Central Authorities, Legal Practitioners, Researchers, the Media and others interested in this important and rapidly developing branch of law. It is hoped that INCADAT will contribute to the uniform interpretation of the 1980 Hague Convention, to the spread of best practice under it and to the development of the mutual understanding among the 60 States Parties, which is essential for its effective operation.
THE INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION DATABASE (INCADAT) GOES ON-LINE
Abduction of children by one of their parents across international borders is increasing daily. Several thousand children are now the victims of international parental child abduction each year. The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of parental abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return. The Convention supports the child's right to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents.
The Convention is now nearing its twentieth anniversary. It has 60 States Parties from all parts of the globe (recent additions include States as far apart as South Africa, Turkmenistan, Brazil, Hong Kong and Belgium) and membership continues to expand (ratification by Turkey is imminent).
The Convention is being applied in these very diverse legal systems on a daily basis by Central Authorities and the courts. It is obviously of great importance to ensure that its application and interpretation is consistent and that best practices are shared. However, so far no easily accessible method is available for this purpose. This is about to change.
To facilitate the goal of uniform interpretation the Hague Conference has developed a database of leading Convention case law. This will be of value not only to judges and Central Authorities but to legal practitioners, researchers and other persons including victims and their family members. The International Child Abduction Database (INCADAT) will be available directly at http://www.incadat.com or via the Hague Conference web site by accessing the web pages addressing the 1980 Convention. There is no charge for accessing the database. However, users will be invited to make a voluntary contribution to assist the Hague Conference to complete, maintain and update INCADAT.
INCADAT is being developed under the auspices of the Hague Project for International Co-operation and the Protection of Children, under the Patronage of Her Excellency Mary Robinson, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Establishment of INCADAT has been made possible through support provided by the Government of Norway, the Levi Lassen Foundation, VSB Fonds Den Haag en Omstreken and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.
The Minister of Justice of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr A.H. Korthals, will officially launch INCADAT on Tuesday, 9 May at 5:30 p.m. in the Academy Building, on the grounds of the Peace Palace, Carnegieplein 2, The Hague, Netherlands, in the presence of representatives from the 47 Member States and key persons involved in international child abduction. Members of the Press are invited to the event and will have the opportunity to speak with individuals involved in the creation of INCADAT following the official launch. R.S.V.P requested.