Argentina: 2019 State Department's Annual Report on International Child Abduction

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 2014-2018 Annual Reports.

Initial Inquiries: In 2018, the Department received three initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Argentina for which no completed applications were submitted to the Department.

Significant Developments: Argentina ordered the return of one child in one case in 2018, resolving a six-year-long Convention application. The Argentine Central Authority, together with the broader Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, coordinated with the Department to ensure the safe return of the child. The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires organized an International Visitor Leadership Program focused on the Convention, inviting officials from the executive and judicial branches of the Government of Argentina to the United States to learn about Convention implementation in the United States. Argentina's Supreme Court issued a decision on one Convention case from the United States, holding, among other things, that Convention cases should be heard in provincial family court circuits rather than in Argentine federal court. The impact of this decision on the Department's longstanding concern over judicial delays remains to be seen. Additionally, during this reporting period the Argentine executive branch submitted a draft national procedural law on child abduction cases, designed to reduce delays in judicial procedures, to the Argentine Congress.

Central Authority: The United States and the Argentine Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.

Location: The competent authorities regularly took appropriate steps to locate children after a Convention application was filed. The average time to locate a child was one year and three months. This average is a result of one case where law enforcement failed to locate the child until this reporting period, after four years and nine months. In another case, the child has not been located at the address provided, and, during this reporting period, law enforcement has failed to locate the child, leading to delays in judicial proceedings.

Judicial Authorities: There were serious delays by the Argentine judicial authorities in deciding Convention cases. As a result of these delays, cases may be pending with the judiciary for over one year, contributing to a pattern of noncompliance.

Enforcement: While courts in Argentina ordered returns under the Convention, Argentine authorities were not always able to enforce these orders. Argentina's legal system allows multiple appeals both on the merits of the decision and on the manner in which the decisions are enforced, thereby creating excessive delays. In this reporting period, Argentina did promptly enforce the court-ordered return of one child in one case.

Access: In 2018, the U.S. Central Authority had one open access case under the Convention in Argentina. This case was opened in 2018. This case has been filed with the Argentine Central Authority. This case was filed in 2018. By December 31, 2018, this case remained open. Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with the Argentine authorities to address issues of concern.

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