Lawyers And Parents Urge Indian Government Not To Accede To Hague Convention

Human rights lawyers and distressed parents across the country have urged the Indian Government not to give in to US pressure to sign the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention), which would require the forcible deportation of Indian children from their families here to foreign countries based without consideration of the circumstances of the child or its primary care giver (typically, the mother). Read former Additional Solicitor General and leading human rights advocate, Indira Jaising’s critique of the Hague Convention here. Also see detailed submissions here given by Indira Jaising’s human rights advocacy group, the Lawyer’s Collective jointly with CPS critic and lawyer Suranya Aiyar to the Indian Committee considering the Hague Convention.

Anguished accounts of parents wrongly accused of child abduction by the US authorities when lawfully bringing their children to India have been reported in the press.

The Indian government had earlier decided not to sign the Hague Convention based broadly on the same reasons persuaded being cited by lawyers and parents today. However, the issue was re-opened under US pressure.

Indians protest the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See also this protest video.

Accession to the Hague Convention is supported by Mens Rights Organisations and so-called “Left Behind Parents” who claim to have been deprived of access to their children once the custodial parents left the foreign country of residence for India. There have also been accounts of mothers in Europe and other countries outside India who have been deprived of their children by their spouse bringing the children to India.

While would support an international effort for the reunification of children with their  mothers, whether in India or abroad, we do not support unilateral claims over children by governmental authorities interceding on behalf of one or other parent as envisaged in the Hague Convention. The cold-hearted extradition of children from the arms of their primary care givers in India is neither reasonable nor humane. Moreover, as argued in this article, contrary to what US officials are saying, the Hague Convention is not limited to inter-parental custody disputes. The Hague Convention grants powers to any “institution” or “other body” to make cross-country custodial claims over children. This would allow child protection agencies to chase both parents around the world to forcibly extradite their children.