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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Cyprus closes loophole on child abductions) ]

Cyprus closes loophole on child abductions)

PARLIAMENT has adopted a bill for the protection of Cypriot children and parents from the increasing phenomenon of cross-border abduction and retention.

The phenomenon of abduction of children by one parent who takes them out of Cyprus without the authorisation of the other is increasing and causing great worry.

The Justice Ministry attributes the increased frequency of child abduction by parents with joint custody to the growing number of mixed marriages in Cyprus.

On Thursday night, the House Plenum, with 33 votes in favour and 14 votes against, voted into law a bill which had been submitted by DIKO MP Andreas Angelides. Voting on the proposal had been postponed three times in previous meetings because of arguments put forward by AKEL.

The EU describes such incidents as “international kidnapping”. International child abduction generally concerns a child who has been taken by one parent away from the other. Sometimes it concerns a child who has been taken by grandparents, family members or others, away from the parent(s). The child has been then taken – without authorisation or against existing agreements – to a foreign country.

EU members can issue extradition warrants for nationals that are suspected of this offence. However, the existing legislation in Cyprus did not cover this offence, preventing the authorities from pursuing those involved in such actions and from issuing extradition warrants against suspects taking refuge in fellow member states.

To fill the legal void, a bill was submitted in the House which was discussed on Thursday in the Legal Committee and adopted at Plenum later in the evening. The bill amends article 245 of the penal code so that “whoever shares custody of a minor with one or more people and transports the underage person out of the boundaries of the Republic without the consent of the other legal guardian or guardians, is considered to be abducting/kidnapping the underage person from the legal guardian/s.”

The government hopes this regulation will allow the Republic to protect the rights of Cypriot parents in cases where their child is transported out of Cyprus without their knowledge or consent.

At the same time, the law allows the extradition to member states of EU nationals suspected of kidnapping children to Cyprus.

The measure is in line with the The Hague Convention of October 25, 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.

The Hague Convention works on the principle of returning children aged under 16 years who are wrongfully removed or retained away from their country of habitual residence. In order to be considered wrongful, a removal or retention must be in breach of rights of custody which are actually being exercised by a person, an institution or any other body under the law of the state in which the child was habitually resident immediately before the removal or retention to or in another Hague Country.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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