H.R. 3240 International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009

Posted on June 21, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention | Tags: , , , , , , , |

H.R. 3240 International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009, if passed will impose economic and security sanctions on non-compliant countries. To read the report click  HR 3240 then download the PDF.

The purposes of this Act are to:

(1) protect United States children from the harmful effects of international child abduction and to protect the right of children to exercise parental access with their parents in a safe and predictable way, wherever located;

(2) provide parents, their advocates, and judges the information they need to enhance the resolution of family disputes through established legal procedures, the tools for assessing the risk of wrongful removal and retention of children, and the practical means for overcoming obstacles to recovering abducted children;

(3) establish effective mechanisms to provide assistance to and aggressive advocacy on behalf of parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to a foreign country, from a foreign country to the United States, and on behalf of military parents stationed abroad;

(4) promote an international consensus that the best interests of children are of paramount importance in matters relating to their custody, and that it is in the best interest of a child to have issues of custody determined in the State of their habitual residence immediately prior to the abduction;

(5) provide the necessary training for military officials and training and assistance to military families to address the unique circumstances of the resolution of child custody disputes which occur abroad, or occur when a parent is serving abroad;

(6) facilitate the creation and effective implementation of international mechanisms, particularly the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, to protect children from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal and retention; and

(7) facilitate the compliance of the United States with reciprocal obligations contained in the Hague Convention regarding children wrongfully removed to or retained in the United States.

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171 Abducted American Children Held in Japan Smith Calls on Obama Administration to Dramatically Alter Strategy Regarding ‘Left Behind Parents’

Posted on March 2, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention | Tags: , , , , , |

Congressman Smith asks Secretary Clinton a question about child abductions to Japan Related Documents

Rep Smith and Secretary Clinton

Washington, Mar 1 – A leading human rights lawmaker today said that left behind parents whose American children have been taken and retained in Japan “are at risk of being left behind again” if the Obama Administration does not dramatically change its strategy and directly work toward an agreement with Japan to resolve current cases of international abduction.

At a Capitol Hill hearing, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee with immediate jurisdiction on global human rights, questioned Secretary Hillary Clinton on the Obama strategy and later said the Administration is making a strategic mistake in focusing first on pushing Japan to sign an international treaty which is not retroactive and will not itself help children who have already been abducted and remain separated from their American parent.

All of us of course want Japan to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction,” Smith said. “But, as you know, that treaty will not solve the current cases. What is the Administration’s plan to resolve the current cases?” Smith asked.Click here to watch video.

Smith, who supports the signing of the treaty, pointed out that the treaty and a separate memorandum of understanding resolving current cases must be equally supported and achieved. He argues that the U.S. government has a duty not only to future Americans who would benefit from the Hague Convention, but “we have a duty to the current American children and American parents who suffer daily, deprived of each others’ love and support,” he said.

Smith, having just returned from a human rights mission to Japan, said that country has become a destination country—a haven—for international child abduction.

There are at least 171 children who are being arbitrarily denied a relationship with their American parent and 131 brokenhearted parents worried sick about their children,” Smith said.

In response, the Secretary said she believes that if Japan signs the treaty the U.S. will have a stronger argument on the pending cases. Something she argued would “open up more possibilities.”

The Secretary’s response was disappointing and naïve,” said Smith who last year authored legislation to strengthen the U.S. response to the taking of American children. Among other provisions, Smith’s bill, which he will reintroduce, prods the State Department to be more forceful with treaty countries as well as those, like Japan, that have not yet signed on.

The U.S. must make it clear, government to government, that Japan has an obligation to work now to solve these current abduction cases, many of which occurred in direct contravention of American court orders barring the child’s removal from the U.S.,” Smith said. “These American parents and their children have suffered too long, and to leave them behind again is unacceptable.”

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U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton testifies on the abduction of children to and within Japan

Posted on March 2, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Hague Convention, Video | Tags: , , , , , |

Congressman Chris Smith asks questions to Secretary Clinton concerning international child abduction to Japan.  Secretary Clinton talks about the cases (denial of access with in Japan and abductions to Japan). Click on the link to watch the video.

Clinton video

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