Six children of the ultra conservative Jewish group Lev Tahor have been taken into custody by Ontario authorities after they returned to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago.
Nine members of Lev Tahor were sent back to Canada by Trinidadian officials this weekend after they were detained in the country for five days. The group was stopped in Trinidad on a layover as they attempted to reach Guatemala, reports the Globe and Mail.
The group of around two hundred people was originally living in Quebec but fled to Ontario after Quebec authorities started a child welfare investigation. They then tried to escape to Guatemala.
Two families in the Jewish sect attempted to escape to Guatemala but were stopped in the island nation. According to an email to Lev Tahor’s supporters, obtained by the Canadian Press, one of the families is American and the other is Israeli so they shouldn’t be sent back to Canada.
The Hague Convention of 1980
Canada, Trinidad, and Guatemala are signatories to the Hague Convention of 1980 which means that custody decisions are made by the country where the minors live most of the time. Trinidad was obligated under the treaty to return the children to Canada, according to the Globe and Mail.
There are six minors listed in the original child welfare investigation that are believed to be in Guatemala, reports the Globe and Mail.