Korea has again been found non-compliant by the United States Department of State as a result of the failure of the Korean authorities to enforce orders to return internationally abducted children.
In the 2023 Annual Report on International Child Abduction issued by the US State Department, as required to be issued by the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2014, the State Department has found that:
“Korean law enforcement authorities regularly failed to enforce return orders in abduction cases. As a result of this failure, 50% of requests for the return of abducted children under The [Hague Abduction] Convention remained unresolved for more than 12 months."
The Korean Ministry of Justice has responded by conceding that it had failed to enforce return orders because Korean regulations provide that such orders cannot be enforced if the child is of a sufficient age and refuses to return.
One such case concerns John Sichi, whose two children were abducted by his Korean wife from San Francisco in 2019. The Supreme Court of Korea ordered the children's return in accordance with the Hague Abduction Convention, but the enforcement authorities in Korea have failed to secure their return.
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