International Family Law: Intercountry Adoption and Child Abduction
New Zealand is party to two key Hague Conference conventions dealing with the protection of children in situations of intercountry adoption or international child abduction:
The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption was established as a response to international concern about practices associated with the adoption of children from one country to another. This Convention, which operates through a system of national Central Authorities, reinforces the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 21) and seeks to ensure that intercountry adoptions are made in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights, and to prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children. New Zealand acceded to the convention on 18 September 1998. Child Youth and Family is New Zealand’s Central Authority and can assist with queries about the convention or individual cases.
The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty that aims to ensure that children who are abducted or wrongfully kept by a parent will be returned as quickly as possible to the country in which they habitually reside so that issues of parental responsibility can be resolved by the courts in that country. New Zealand acceded to the convention on 31 May 1991. The Convention sets up a Central Authority in each country to deal with applications for the return of children taken to or from each country. The Ministry of Justice is New Zealand’s Central Authority and can assist with queries about the convention or individual cases.