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Attorney-General raises child abduction with India, Pakistan.

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Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102

21 January 2007 15/2006


Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has continued his push to ensure legal frameworks are in place to handle international child abduction disputes during his visit over the past week to Pakistan and India.

Mr Ruddock held talks with both governments on the issue and urged them to consider adopting the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, by which disputes are determined under the law of the country where the child normally resides.

The Attorney-General said he looked forward to working with India in taking a lead role in the Asia-Pacific region on the child abduction issue.

“I am encouraged that India has given a commitment to consider the benefits of greater participation in the Hague Conference as a matter of priority,’’ Mr Ruddock said.

“One of the problems arising from child custody disputes is that parents seek out countries with laws that would most likely deliver them is that a favourable custody outcome.’’

Mr Ruddock added that he had also raised the possibility of bilateral agreements. One currently exists with Egypt and another is being negotiated with Lebanon.

He said more than 500 children had been taken from Australia illegally over the past six years - in most cases by one of their parents.

“It can be a tragedy when families separate in acrimonious circumstances, particularly where children are involved,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Parents who wrongfully remove their child to another country ultimately leave the child wounded, particularly if by doing so they deprive the child spending time with or communicating with the other parent.’’

Media Contact: Michael Pelly 0419 278 715