The Parliament of Cyprus is seeking to enforce legislative measures regarding both the parental child abductions and the illegal restraints of children in countries other than Cyprus.
The Commissioner for Children’s Rights and the Cyprus Police have received many complaints by Cypriot nationals against their partners. The formers claim that their partners have transferred their children to their country of origin- either without notice or by suggesting that it is only a visit. The restraint of the children in those countries is illegal. Such transfers are very complicated and political issues influence the management of these incidents, especially considering the national states that are not members of the Hague Convention.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the coordination of the relevant authorities and has informed the Members of Parliament, and more specifically the members of Human Rights Commission, about the measures that were decided to be enforced after a meeting that took place recently at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It needs to be noted that the relevant authorities considered that a legislative reform of Law Criminal Code (Amending) Law No.70(I)/2008 is needed so as to categorise the restraint of children outside Cyprus as a criminal act- as the current case for child abduction and illegal transfer of children is.
The measures that were suggested to be enforced in order to minimise the incidents of parental child abduction read as follows:
i. Reinforcement of cooperation, coordination and information sharing between the relevant authorities and non-governmental organisations through the composition of a committee called “Coordination Committee for the prevention and management of the phenomenon of parental abduction”.
ii. Examination of different ways so as to aid the cooperation with other European and International Institutions and pursuance of bilateral agreements with countries that are not members of the Hague Convention.
iii. Investigation of possible correlations with human trafficking and domestic violence issues.
iv. Preparation of a manual relating to the procedural and management steps regarding child abduction incidents and recording of the role of each office.
v. Systematic updating both of the public and parents
vi. Finding of ways in order to enforce a more active participation, cooperation and information sharing with the Governmental Organisations, focusing on the familiarisation of the public and on the parents’ support.
vii. Training of officers that deal with such cases in all the governmental services.
viii. Institutionalisation of a support mechanism for the parents-victims in order to offer financial, legal and psychological assistance.