On 10th August 2023, Dr Onyoja Momoh gave the keynote speech in Helsinki, Finland, at the final workshop in the series on Transnational Childhoods, Transnational Rights? Nordic Responses to Global Challenges in the Field of Child Protection, with invitation from Dr Sanna Mustasaari (University of Eastern Finland) and Dr Johanna Hiitola (University of Oulu). The workshop was organised by the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences and took place at the historic Lapinlahden Lähde.
Onyoja's address was titled ‘The Utility of the 1996 Hague Convention in Cross-Border Kinship Placements of Children Subject to Care Proceedings’. In her paper, she explored the effectiveness of the 1996 Hague Convention in cross border placements, examining the interactions between England & Wales and other contracting states including EU Member States. In particular, issues concerning (1) the utility of Central Authorities and liaison with authorities such as children services abroad, (2) the practicalities of the recognition and enforcement of foreign orders under the 1996 Hague Convention (e.g. Articles 23, 24, 26), (3) the realities of the “simple and rapid” process envisaged under the Convention, and (4) the divergence in national child law terminology and language and the impact on the effectiveness of the Convention.
The workshop was an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and practice with experts from the Nordic countries and beyond, exploring in particular, intersectionality in transnational child rights from child abduction and kinship placements to the protection of children in the conflict zone. It was especially inspiring to listen to Professor Johanna Niemi speak of her journey to justice for children caught in conflict zones, engaging the Committe on the Rights of the Child to challenge the Finnish government on their refusal to help children in the camp Al-Hol in Syria. A decidated and fearless journey indeed!