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Family Reunion

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The International Network

Did you know...?

Every year at least 500 children are abducted from the UK by one of their parents without the other parent’s knowledge or permission.

Libya Family Reunion

Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB) works in cases of Parental Child Abduction where the 1980 Hague Convention on Child Abduction does not apply because the children have been taken to a country which has not signed the convention.

Since 1997, CFAB has developed a special and unique project for families whose children have been abducted to Libya. With the co-operation of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Libyan Government, CFAB facilitates and supervises an annual family reunion in Libya, between the children and family members in the UK.

How can CFAB help?

  • We have developed a contact with a family lawyer in Libya who has greatly helped us in understanding the law generally, as well as assisting legally with individual cases. We have now learnt that in Libya the hierarchy for custody starts with the mother, then her parents and family, and then the father, and then his parents and family.
  • Mothers can be awarded custody but will have to be prepared to exercise this in Libya. The one case where a British mother was allowed to leave Libya with her young daughter was due to exceptional circumstances created by the father and his family behaving so unreasonably that their personal safety could no longer be guaranteed.
  • For many mothers ongoing contact with their abducted children may thus be impossible, unless they receive the sort of help offered by this project. The CFAB Family Reunion Project may be the only hope they have of ever seeing their children again.

[Libya is just one of many countries whose legal system does not allow for the return of a child to his/her country of usual residence following an abduction, nor does it easily facilitate ongoing relationships between both parents and the children. Many countries have not signed up to international agreements concerning child abduction, so the abduction of a child to one of these countries poses particular problems, and a resolution in law may be impossible.]