Syria: Abducted Dutch kids flee to embassy

Two Dutch kids, brother and sister ages 12 and 10, who have been abducted by their father to Syria have sought refuge in the Dutch Embassy in Damscus. The kids have been residing in the Embassy building for the last 12 days, afraid to leave and being returned to their father.

The two kids are apprently from a Dutch non-Muslim mother and Muslim father. They were abducted in August 2004 when the Dutch courts awarded custody to the mother.

The Syrian press is accusing the embassy personnel of abducting the kids, a charge they're denying.

According to the embassy spokesman "this is an exceptionally sensitive affair. We've contacted the father, mother and Syrian authorities in order to find a solution. Besides, the interests of the kids comes naturally in first place."

According to Syrian law, the father has custody over his kids. Dutch law had already decided that the mother has custody. The kids seemed to have said their say when they took a taxi on their own and went to their embassy to ask for help.

Source: Trouw (Dutch)

Update July 7th, 2006

The children cannot be returned under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction since Syria did not sign that convention (along with countries such Algeria, Egypt and Morocco).

There are about 120-130 abduction cases a year. In 60% the abducters are the mother who live outside the Netherlands at the time of the divorce and abduct their kids back to the Netherlands. In 40% it's the father who takes his kids back to his fatherland.

Source: NRC (Dutch)


Anonymous said...

In addition to this article must be mentioned that the father has a trackrecord of kids abuse.

Esther said...

Can you give me a link?

From what I've been reading, I've seen references that he hit his kids when they asked to go back to the Netherlands, but I haven't seen anything else.