By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian government announced on Tuesday, January 19th, it has created a pamphlet directed toward Brazilians who have children with foreign nationals. According to the Ministry of Foreign Relations (Itamaraty) the pamphlet contains information on the necessary procedures to be taken to avoid international judicial actions related to guardianship of minors.

 Minister Luiza Lopes da Silva and  George Lima at the launch of the pamphlet about guardianship of Brazilian minors abroad
Minister Luiza Lopes da Silva and George Lima at the launch of the pamphlet about guardianship of Brazilian minors abroad, photo by Elza Fiuza/Agência Brasil.

“With the information contained in the pamphlet, we expect to reduce the cases of international removal of children, where one of the guardians removes the child from his country of residence without the authorization of the other guardian,” said the press statement released with the pamphlet.

According to officials, Brazilian parents must be made aware that any guardianship dispute involving children whose guardians are of different nationalities is to be treated according to the rules of the 1980 Haia Convention.

The Haia Convention states that the regulations to be followed in this type of custodial fight are that of the country where the child resides and not the laws of the country from which the parents come from.

According to George Lima, general coordinator of the Federal Administrative Authority (agency responsible for issues related to minors such as international adoptions and duo nationalities) many Brazilians have the wrong idea that the legislation of the country where they are living in with their children does not apply to them because they are Brazilians.

“When a minor is brought to Brazil in an illicit manner, without complying with the legal formalities (of that country), the rule is that this child should be returned to the country where the child resides,” said Lima during a press conference.

According to Minister Luiza Lopes da Silva, director of the Consular and Brazilians Abroad Department at the Itamaraty, there have been cases in the last few years where Brazilian mothers decide to take matters into their own hands and bring the children back to Brazil.

“There is an unreal expectation that Brazil is a safe zone, and they are surprised and disappointed when the Brazilian state determines that the child must be returned (to the country of residence),” explained the minister.

According Brazil’s Human Rights Department there are 373 cases of this type underway today in the country, an average of nine new cases per year.

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