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Cablegate: Letter to the Secretary From Hcopil On

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 001725

SIPDIS


DEPARTMENT FOR CA/OCS/CL, L/PIL - KOVAR, L/CA - O'CONNER,
EUR/AGS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC NL GM HCOPIL
SUBJECT: LETTER TO THE SECRETARY FROM HCOPIL ON
INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION AND ACESS TO CHILDREN ABROAD


1. EMBASSY HAS RECEIVED THE LETTER THAT FOLLOWS IN
PARAGRAPH 2 FROM HANS VAN LOON, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE
HAGUE CONFERENCE ON PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW (HCOPIL), TO
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT CONCERNING THE HAGUE CONVENTION ON CIVIL

SIPDIS
ASPECTS OF CHILD ABDUCTION. VAN LOON NOTES THE RECENT
DISCUSSIONS OF THE OPERATION OF THE TREATY BETWEEN THE U.S.
AND GERMANY AND PROPOSES A NUMBER OF PRACTICAL STEPS THAT
COULD BE TAKEN UNDER HCOPIL AUSPICES TO MAKE OPERATION OF THE
TREATY MORE EFFECTIVE. HE ALSO OFFERS TO HAVE HCOPIL HOST
AND FACILITATE THE WORK OF THE JOINT USG - FRG EXPERTS GROUP
REPORTEDLY PROPOSED TO ADDRESS U.S. GERMAN CHILD ABDUCTIONS
AND ACCESS CONCERNS.


2. //BEGIN TEXT OF VAN LOON - ALBRIGHT LETTER//


MS. MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT
SECRETARY OF STATE

SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20520
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


THE HAGUE, 6 JUNE 2000
NO 10656(00)VL/GB


DEAR MADAM SECRETARY OF STATE:


INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION AND ACCESS TO CHILDREN ABROAD


IT WAS GOOD TO HEAR THAT PRESIDENT CLINTON AND BUNDESKANZLER
SCHRODER AT THEIR MEETING IN BERLIN ON 1 JUNE 2000 HAVE
AGREED THAT A JOINT EXPERTS GROUP SHOULD EXAMINE WAYS TO
IMPROVE THE OPERATION OF THE HAGUE CONVENTION OF 25 OCTOBER
1980 ON THE CIVIL ASPECTS OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION AS
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY.


CONCERNS EXPRESSED IN THE UNITED STATES, IN PARTICULAR BY
CONGRESS, AND ECHOED IN OTHER COUNTRIES ON THE SUBJECT OF
INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION AND ACCESS TO CHILDREN ABROAD
PROMPT ME TO SUGGEST CERTAIN PRACTICAL MEASURES WHICH WILL
HELP TO IMPROVE THE CURRENT SITUATION. AS SECRETARY GENERAL
OF THE HAGUE CONFERENCE, THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION
RESPONSIBLE FOR DRAWING UP THE HAGUE CHILD ABDUCTION
CONVENTION, I FEEL STRONG RESPONSIBILITY, SHARED BY MY
COLLEAGUES, FOR ENSURING THAT THE CONVENTION OPERATES TO ITS
MAXIMUM EFFECT.


IN OUR VIEW, THE CONTINUED SUCCESS OF THE CONVENTION - WHICH
HAS BEEN GENERALLY RECOGNISED AS AN EFFECTIVE DETERRENT AND
REMEDY - WILL DEPEND ON MORE STRENUOUS EFFORTS BY THE
CONTRACTING STATES TO CO-OPERATE AND VIGOROUSLY IMPLEMENT THE
CONVENTION.


THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE PRACTICAL STEPS WHICH IN OUR
VIEW ARE CRITICAL TO THE EFFECTIVE AND SMOOTH OPERATION OF
THE CONVENTION;


1. THE DISSEMINATION OF BEST PRACTICES AND CASE LAW OF
THE SIXTY CONTRACTING STATES;


2. THE COLLECTION AND PUBLICATION OF COMPARABLE DATA
CONCERNING KEY ASPECTS OF PERFORMANCE, RELATING, FOR EXAMPLE,
TO ENFORCEMENT AND DELAYS;


3 TRAINING PROGRAMS, BOTH NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL, FOR
JUDGES, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS AND OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR
IMPLEMENTING THE CONVENTION.


4. REGULAR REVIEWS AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL OF THE
OPERATION OF THE CONVENTION, AT WHICH STATES PARTIES HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY BOTH TO HIGHLIGHT POOR PERFORMANCE AND TO SHARE
EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE, AS WELL AS TO CONSIDER THE NEED
FOR ADDITIONAL CONCERTED ACTION;


5. THE DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSNATIONAL MECHANISMS FOR
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION, INCLUDING MEDIATION;


6. INCREASED FOCUS ON ACCESS RIGHTS BETWEEN CHILDREN AND
BOTH PARENTS, THROUGH RATIFICATION OF EXISTING CONVENTIONS,
IN PARTICULAR THE 1996 HAGUE CONVENTION ON THE INTERNATIONAL
PROTECTION OF CHILDREN, AND THE POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW
INSTRUMENT.


THE PERMANENT BUREAU OF THE HAGUE CONFERENCE HAS BEEN MAKING,
WITHIN THE RESTRAINTS OF LIMITED RESOURCES, STRENUOUS EFFORTS
OVER MANY YEARS ON ALL OF THESE FRONTS (THE ATTACHED DOCUMENT
PROVIDES FURTHER DETAILS). FOR EXAMPLE, WE LAUNCHED ON 9 MAY
2000 AN ELECTRONIC INTERNATIONAL DATABASE OF JUDICIAL
DECISIONS CONCERNING THE CONVENTION (HTTP://WWW.INCADAT.COM);
WE ORGANISED IN 1998 AND EARLY THIS WEEK A THREE-DAY SEMINAR
FOR FORTY JUDGES, EACH TIME FROM DIFFERENT CONTRACTING STATES
TO FAMILIARISE THEM WITH THE CONVENTION AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO
CO-OPERATE ACROSS BORDERS; AND WE ARE CURRENTLY PREPARING FOR
A FOURTH MAJOR MEETING OF CONTRACTING STATES TO TAKE PLACE IN
MARCH 2001, FROM WHICH WE EXPECT TO SEE A NUMBER OF
RECOMMENDATIONS EMERGING ON THE APPLICATION OF THE 1980
CONVENTION.


THE PERMANENT BUREAU IS GLAD TO OFFER ITS EXPERTISE, AND ITS
PREMISES AT THE HAGUE TO FACILITATE THE WORK OF THE JOINT
EXPERTS GROUP REFERRED TO ABOVE. WE BELIEVE THAT THE HAGUE
CONFERENCE PROVIDES AN OBJECTIVE AND TRUSTED FORUM FOR
INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION TO MAKE THE 1980 CONVENTION WORK.


WE WOULD ALSO HOPE THAT THE EXPERTS GROUP WOULD, AS PART OF
THE REPORTED "ORGANISATIONAL AND INSTITUTIONAL CONSEQUENCES
TO BE TAKEN", REFLECT ON WAYS TO REINFORCE THE CAPACITY OF
THE PERMANENT BUREAU SO AS TO ENABLE US TO DO ALL THAT WE
KNOW IS NEEDED TO GIVE THE CONVENTION THE BEST POSSIBILITY OF
WORKING EFFECTIVELY.


YOURS SINCERELY,
/S/
HANS VAN LOON


//END TEXT OF LETTER//


3. THE LETTER HAS BEEN FAXED TO THE DEPARTMENT (L/PIL -
KOVAR).
SCHNEIDER

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