Stakeholders support ratification of Hague Conventions relating to children
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, September 28, 2017
The Ministry of Legal Affairs has consulted with government agencies and civil society stakeholders as it considers ratifying Child Protection and other Hague Conventions.
The one-day consultation was held today with support from The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) at the Pegasus Hotel, Georgetown.
The consultation is considered a critical follow-up to Guyana’s participation in last year’s regional HCCH conference which was held in the country. “Today’s meeting will be instrumental in paving the way forward especially as it relates to our discussions on which Conventions Guyana should prioritise”, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Basil Williams said in opening remarks.
The Hague Conventions seek to improve the everyday life of individuals, families, and businesses by providing the legal framework to address challenges in the connected world. Guyana is examining the ratification of the following Conventions:
- Child Protection
- Evidence and Access to Justice
- Child Abduction
- Choice of Court
The discussions on ascension and implementation were facilitated by HCCH’s Latin American representative Ignacio Goicoechea and received support from the stakeholders for the ratification of the four Conventions relating to children: Child Protection, Adoption, Maintenance, and Abduction.
Already, the Ministry of Social Protection is examining the implementation of these Conventions, particularly the Adoption Convention. “I’m hoping with that Convention, it assists more with the children that are being adopted and adoptions that are completed to have that smooth transition from Guyana to the receiving country”, Kaycina Jardine, Manager of Adoptions at the Child Care and Protection Agency noted.
UNICEF has committed to helping Guyana implement these Conventions. “We really think that ratifying and adopting The Hague Conventions, especially conventions relating to children rights is going to be a step forward and key to make sure that Guyana can abide and fulfil their international legal obligations”, Paolo Marchie, UNICEF Deputy Representative to Guyana and Suriname explained.
Guyana is already a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. A recommendation from the committee on the ROC encouraged the adoption and ratification of some of The Hague Convention relating to children.
Additionally, Cabinet has given its approval for Guyana to ascent to the Apostille Convention. “The Foreign Affairs Ministry shortly after last year’s conference had in fact taken the Apostille Convention to Cabinet. It was approved and now it is just a question of acceding to the Convention formally”, Minister Williams noted.
The Apostille Convention facilitates the circulation of public documents executed in one State party to the Convention and to be produced in another State party to the Convention.
“The importance of the Apostille Convention cannot be understated. It would tremendously improve the situation both in business and everyday life of Guyanese, certainly in the diaspora, who from time to time are required to send documents back to Guyana”, Minister Williams explained.
The Guyana Bar Association (GBA) member and Attorney-at-law Pauline Chase said the GBA welcomes the ratification of the Apostille Convention “so it can be used in our practice”.
During the discussion, the stakeholders also examined the challenges and solutions for the implementation of the Conventions. “The government will seek to embrace all the evidence that has been moved with alacrity on improving legal commerce and child protection”, Minister Williams said.
By: Tiffny Rhodius