Country Summary: The Convention has been in force between the United States and Brazil since 2003. In 2021, Brazil continued to demonstrate a pattern of noncompliance. Specifically, judicial authorities continued to fail to regularly implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. Additionally, the competent authorities continued to fail to take appropriate steps to locate children in an abduction case, contributing to Brazil's persistent failure to implement and abide by the provisions of the Convention. Brazil was previously cited for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance in the 2006-2021 Annual Reports.
Initial Inquiries: In 2021, the Department received four initial inquiries from parents regarding possible abductions to Brazil for which no completed applications were submitted to the Department.
Significant Developments: In 2021, Brazil named six new members to the International Hague Network of Judges, expanding from a previous single active Network judge. Additionally, Brazil's Federal Justice Council published a manual to guide federal judges when hearing Convention cases.
The Department has cited Brazil for demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention for 17 consecutive years. However, by the end of 2021, a significant number of abduction cases were resolved, and less than 30 percent of cases remained unresolved for more than 12 months. While these resolutions are encouraging, other cases continue to experience lengthy judicial delays, contributing to Brazil's persistent failure to implement and abide by the provisions of the Convention. The Department continues to call on Brazil to expedite the resolution of Convention cases.
Central Authority: The U.S. and Brazilian Central Authorities have a strong and productive relationship that facilitates the resolution of abduction cases under the Convention.
Voluntary Resolution: The Convention states that central authorities “shall take all appropriate measures to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues.” In 2021, two abduction cases were resolved through voluntary means.
Location: Brazil demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance with the Convention as a result of failure by the competent authorities to take appropriate steps to locate children in one case after a Convention application was filed. During the reporting period the competent authorities continued to fail to take appropriate steps to locate two children in an abduction case (accounting for 25 percent of the unresolved cases). During this delay, the Convention ceased to apply to one of the children because of the child's age. The average time to locate a child was 11 months and 13 days.
Judicial Authorities: There were serious delays by the Brazilian 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. Delays at the first instance, the appellate, and the enforcement stages persisted during the reporting year. As a result, the Department remains concerned with the Brazilian judiciary's repeated failure to regularly implement and comply with the provisions of the Convention. Moreover, the U.S. Central Authority is concerned by some language that was non-compliant with the Convention in one judicial decision.
Enforcement: While courts in Brazil ordered returns under the Convention, in some cases the Brazilian authorities faced challenges with enforcement.
Department Recommendations: The Department will continue intense engagement with Brazilian authorities to address issues of concern and will consider actions to encourage better Brazilian compliance with the Convention.