Parental abductions are a phenomenon observed in Cyprus with huge social dimensions. According to the official data provided by “P” from the Police, in the last three years, ie from 2018 to 2020, a total of 19 complaints of parental abduction were submitted, which concerned 25 children, of which until today it has been possible to to locate and return to Cyprus only 11. In particular, in the year 2020, five complaints of parental abductions were filed involving seven children. None of them have yet managed to return to Cyprus. In 2019, 11 complaints were made about parental abductions involving 14 children, of whom seven returned. In 2018, the parental abductions amounted to three, involving four children who were able to return all to Cyprus. Earlier data found in the archive of “P” indicate that in 2017 the Police handled 10 cases of parental abduction and transfer of 14 minors abroad of which only six were identified, while in 2016 handled 21 complaints concerning the abduction of 27 minors, from of which only 11 were located and returned.
As can be seen from the above, from 2016 to 2020, a total of 50 complaints of parental abductions were filed involving 66 children, of which only 28 were able to return to Cyprus. In almost all cases, children who were victims of parental abduction come from mixed marriages that have broken up, with the foreigner or foreign spouse abducting their children and transporting them to their country of origin, mainly through the pseudo-state.
As we have been duly told, constantly monitoring all vehicles and people as they cross the roadblocks is de facto difficult, if not impossible. In order for this to happen, there must be support / increase for both the staff of the Police and the staff of the Department of Population and Immigration, which is not possible with the current data. However, regardless of the above, if there is information or a court decree for such cases, the roadblock staff are immediately instructed to be vigilant and constantly monitor the vehicles transporting minors for a thorough inspection, in order to prevent the entry of the occupied persons. whose details are registered in the “stop list” and their departure abroad through the illegal airport of Tympos. If the abduction of the child or children is detected in time by the other parent, there is an increased chance that the children will be located before crossing into the occupied territories and leaving Cyprus through the illegal airport.
In case the children are transferred to a third country that has not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Matters of International Child Abduction, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs undertakes diplomatic actions with respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs to locate the children and return them to Cyprus. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has a role in cases where children are in countries party to the Hague Convention with informal contacts with state authorities for information purposes regarding the progress of each case (court proceedings, etc.). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also provides consular facilities if a parent wishes to go to the state where the abducted child has been located. He also helps through diplomatic missions to find private lawyers in the country where the children are.
The process of investigation
After the complaint is made by the affected parent to a police station, the Interpol Nicosia office is notified, if and when there are indications or suspicions that the child or children have been transferred to another country. The Interpol office in Nicosia sends a message to the Interpol office in the country where the children are suspected to have been transferred, requesting confirmation of the entry of the children and the parent in the specific country. The message also asks for confirmation of the children's health status. When a national arrest warrant is issued against the abducting parent and after obtaining the approval of the Advocate General, either for the issuance of a European arrest warrant or for an international search, a relevant message is sent again through Interpol Nicosia for the arrest of the parent for extradition. or his surrender to the Cypriot authorities and the return of the children. The General Secretariat of Interpol is also requested to issue a red notice for the wanted person and a yellow ad (missing persons) for the children. The consent of the affected parent must be obtained for the issuance of a yellow notice for minors. It is noted that in cases where the abductor takes refuge in a country outside the European Union, in order to be apprehended for extradition to the Cypriot authorities, there must be a bilateral agreement for the extradition of fugitives between the two countries. In these cases, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also informed. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order is informed as the central authority to take appropriate action under the Hague Convention. The affected parent is also invited to submit a request to the Ministry of Justice and Public Order to enable the initiation of the procedure.
Unfortunately, there are cases of children who have been missing from Cyprus for 15 or even 20 years. Investigations by both the police authorities of the country where the parent escaped with the children and private detectives were fruitless.
The line 116000
The consortium of non-governmental organizations, consisting of the Association for the Prevention and Combating of Domestic Violence (SPAVO) and the organization “Hope For Children”, has been operating since May 2012 the European helpline for missing children that responds to the European harmonized number 116000. The responsibilities of this consortium are the prevention of the phenomenon of missing children as well as the immediate response and psychosocial support to parents who reported the abduction – disappearance of their children. The consortium developed cooperation with the Police and the competent office for handling issues of domestic violence and child abuse, with the Social Welfare Services and with the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs.
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