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Mexico - International Child Abduction

MEXICO AND INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION: US Department of State 2009 Report: Patterns of Noncompliance

Mexico demonstrated patterns of noncompliance in the areas of judicial and law enforcement performance in 2008.  Many of the systemic problems identified in previous compliance reports persist.  Locating children and taking parents in Mexico continues to be a serious obstacle for Convention applicants and often takes years.  There are instances in which taking parents flee into hiding when ordered to appear in court for a hearing on a Convention application.  Of the USCA's 47 unresolved cases concerning Mexico, 34 involve taking parents and children who have not been located (see the "Unresolved Return Applications" section of this report for more information).  Mexico devotes inadequate resources to locate missing children, severly impeding successful implementation of the Convention.  In order to comply with the Convention, it is imperitive for Mexico to devote more resources to locate missing children and bring taking parents to justice. 

Although there are states in Mexico where Judges have a better understanding of the Convention and have ordered returns under the Convention, the USCA continues to note an overall pattern of noncompliance in Mexico's judicial system.  In the few cases that led to the return of the child to the United States, the left behind parent retained a private attorney with a greater understanding of the Convention's principles than Mexican public prosecutors have tended to exhibit.  Mexican courts delay Convention cases and often improperly treat them as custody cases.  See Convention, article 16.  In these instances, Mexican judges determine children to be well settled in the new environment and deny the application for return to the child's country of habitual residence.  This determination could be avoided by handling Convention cases more expeditiously and adhering more closely to the Convention's requirements.  Mexican judges have also abused the "amparo," a special type of constitutional challenge, which results in  additional delays to Convention cases and increases the left behind parent's legal costs.

During 2008, the Mexican Central Authority (MCA) worked closely with the United States Embassy in Mexico City to persuade the Mexican branch of Interpol to apply more resources and efforts to locate abducted children, and to educate the judiciary in an effort to increase understanding of the Convention, with an observable increase in Convention cases in the locations where these educational seminars were held.  The MCA works closely with judges to help them improve their compliance with the Convention.  In spite of these efforts, the MCA's performance is inevitably affected by inadequate staffing.  

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