Argentina: 2019 State Department Action Report

Country Summary: The Convention has been in force between the United States and Argentina since 1991. In 2018, Argentina demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, the Argentine judicial authorities failed to regularly implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. As a result of this failure, 25 percent of requests for the return of abducted children under the Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months. On average, these cases were unresolved for nine years and 10 months. Argentina was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2015-2019 Annual Reports.

Report of Action Taken: Department of State officials raised continuing concerns about the Argentine judiciary's persistent failure to regularly implement and comply with the Convention.

In July and August 2018, public defenders, family court judges, Supreme Court staff, child and family advocates, and central authority officials from Argentina participated in an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) focused on the Convention. Argentine participants met with Department officials, U.S. judges, local law enforcement and District Attorneys' offices, private attorneys, and nongovernmental organizations working with children and families.

The IVLP exposed Argentine participants to how the Convention is implemented in the United States, and participants learned of resources available to help facilitate the safe return of a child to his or her country of habitual residence. Upon their return to Argentina, participants joined an intra-Argentine network of returned IVLP participants, engaging in trainings across Argentina in an effort to multiply the effect of their experience in the United States. This was the second year in a row the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires organized an IVLP targeting Argentine Convention noncompliance.

In August 2018, U.S. embassy officials pressed Argentine officials on Argentina's Convention noncompliance at an event titled “Latin American Meeting on the Implementation and Operation of the Hague Convention on Legal Co-Operation and International Child Protection,” organized by the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

In September 2018, the U.S. embassy hosted a “Consular Breakfast on International Parental Child Abduction.” Convening 25 stakeholders, this multilateral forum included Argentine executive, legislative, and judicial branch officials, and returned IVLP participants, presenting on solutions for improved Convention implementation in Argentina.

In a February 2019 digital video conference, senior U.S. Central Authority officials met with Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials and the newly installed Argentine Central Authority Director to address the Department's concern for resolving longstanding Convention cases. This meeting strengthened central authority cooperation. Also in February 2019, the Department facilitated training for over 20 U.S. government officials from U.S. missions across the western hemisphere. Hosted by U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, the training focused on how to prevent, counter, and resolve international parental child abduction.

In March 2019, the Department's Special Advisor for Children's Issues led a delegation to Argentina to address Convention noncompliance and U.S.-Argentine cooperation under the Convention. During this official visit, the Department formally raised U.S. concerns, conveyed to Argentine officials the importance of expeditiously processing Convention cases, and highlighted U.S. congressional interest in longstanding cases. During the visit, the Special Advisor participated in a round table with members of the Argentine Congress tasked with reviewing a draft national procedural law addressing Convention delays in the judiciary. The Special Advisor noted obstacles for the correct application of the Convention in Argentina and encouraged Argentine members of Congress to pass procedural reform. Local press covered the Special Advisor's engagement extensively and positively, and she participated in media interviews with Argentina's largest online news site and with the country's only English-language newspaper.

In June 2019, the Acting Consul General delivered a demarche to the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, notifying the Argentine authorities that the State Department cited Argentina in the 2019 Annual Report for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance during 2018.

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