Legal basis

The Central Authority acts on the basis of two international Conventions applicable in this area: the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention 1980) and the European Convention of 20 May 1980 on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children (European Convention 1980). Both Conventions only apply between contracting states. They are of purely civil legal nature; their purpose is the protection of the child concerned, not the punishment of the abducting parent.

In cases of child abductions in Switzerland, the Federal Act on International Child Abduction (FA-ACA) will apply, in addition to the Hague Conventions on the Protection of Children and Adults.

Non-Contracting States

The legal options in the case of abduction into a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention 1980 or to the European Convention 1980 are very limited. The Consular Directorate of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs or the Swiss Foundation of the International Social Service may provide assistance.

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