Published 26 October 2016 by Kanokanga & Partners

People are migrating to different parts of the world for different reasons which reasons include but are not limited to pursuing attractive employment opportunities, seeking better educational opportunities for one’s children or a loss of confidence in one’s country’s economy. This has seen a huge increase in the number of international marriages or unions. In turn this has led to an increase in children being born to foreign parents in various parts of the world.
Against this background international child abduction has become a global phenomenon. In recent years the Zimbabwean courts have been seized with a number of relocation disputes. It must be said at the onset that international child abduction can have both civil and criminal law consequences depending on the particular circumstances of the child's removal or retention and the countries involved.
Separation between a child’s parents or divorce can lead to child abduction especially where the parties disagree on custody and or access issues. It is unfortunate that in such situations the innocent children stand to suffer the most.
Justice L'Heureux-Dubé had this to say in the Canadian case of Thomson v Thomson (1994) 119 DLR (4th) 253 at 296 that:
"... the necessity of international agreements with regard to the abduction of children has been abundantly demonstrated particularly in recent years. The increase in rapid international transportation, the freer crossing of international boundaries, the continued decrease in documentation requirements when entering foreign jurisdictions, the increase in 'international families', where parents are of different countries of origin


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