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  • Reinforcing family ties
The story of Elias, age 6, Moroccan

I found one factor key to resolving the case: effective collaboration with the different players involved. Here this meant the social worker, two lawyers and FDFA. Elias is still in contact with his father, which turned out to be in his best interest.

Leila Raïs, Social Worker

Can you explain the context of this child abduction?

Elias is a little boy who was born in Switzerland. His father has dual Swiss and Moroccan nationality and his mother is Moroccan. When he was two, he went on holiday with his family to Morocco, where his parents, Selma and Karim, met.
Once there, while the family was staying with Selma’s parents, Karim suddenly disappeared and took his wife’s and son’s passports with him. Selma found herself stuck in Morocco resourceless and without news of her husband. A short while later, she received a letter from the Moroccan authorities saying that Karim had requested a divorce. Selma then approached the Swiss embassy in Rabat to get herself a passport and visa so she could return to Geneva. Unfortunately, she had to travel alone, leaving her son in Morocco with his grandparents.

What was ISS’s role?

There were several elements. ISS Switzerland took care of Elias’s mother and gave her psychological, legal and administrative support. With the help of Swiss and Moroccan lawyers, as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs, ISS implemented a series of actions in the child’s best interest including mediation to resolve the inextricable situation in which Selma found herself. As her husband was refusing any collaboration which would lead to his son returning to Switzerland, ISS found ways to enable the mother to visit her son in Morocco over the long months during which procedure was being carried out.

What was the outcome of the joint intervention from ISS and its partner network?

Elias was allowed to return to his mother. ISS is still supporting Elias and his family to ensure that the best interests of this child are always considered as he remains traumatised by what has happened.