House Passes Amendments to Children Guardianship and Custody Act

Photo: Donald De La Haye The House of Representative.

Story Highlights

  • The Children (Guardianship and Custody) (Amendment) Act was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 6).
  • The Bill seeks to give effect to the Government’s decision to enact legislation to implement the terms of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and to facilitate Jamaica’s accession to the agreement.
  • Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said incidences of international child abduction continue to pose a serious challenge in light of the ease in international travel and the rise in divorce rates, among other factors.

The Children (Guardianship and Custody) (Amendment) Act was passed in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 6).

The Bill seeks to give effect to the Government’s decision to enact legislation to implement the terms of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and to facilitate Jamaica’s accession to the agreement.

The Hague Convention aims to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.

While opening the debate on the Bill in November, Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, said incidences of international child abduction continue to pose a serious challenge in light of the ease in international travel and the rise in divorce rates, among other factors.

“The location, recovery and return of abducted children are made more difficult because children are sometimes removed and taken to states with different legal systems and cultural and social structures,” he noted.

The Minister informed that over the years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has received complaints from within the diaspora about the wrongful removal of Jamaican children.

As of July, 2016, 95 countries were party to the Hague Convention, including The Bahamas, United States of America, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Bill was passed in the Upper House in July.

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