Thailand/UK The Abducted Children Are Brought Back To their British Father


August 22 , 2014

Source: Pattaya Smart

The two British-Thai Children who were abducted a while ago are now returned to their british father Robert Day.

We will update this article soon

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Read the full update here: Phuketgazzette

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Mother wanted for abducting own British-Thai children believed to be in Phuket


August 9 , 2014

Source: phuketgazette

PHUKET: The mother wanted for abducting her two British-Thai daughters from their natural father in Pattaya is believed to be heading to Phuket.
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On Tuesday, Pattaya Police were issued an arrest warrant for 36-year-old Onwarat Gamlem, who is the non-custodial mother of the children. The warrant orders police officers around the country to arrest Ms Onwarat on charges of child abduction.

Ms Onwarat, also known by her nicknames “Nok Lek” and “On”, is to be handed over to the Pattaya City Police once arrested.

The children’s father, Robert Day, believes Ms Onwarat may have brought the children to Phuket, Mr Day’s sister, Charlotte Dillow, told the Phuket Gazette. Ms Onwarat once lived in Phuket.

“She met her current husband there, too,” Ms Dillow said.

Ms Onwarat and Mr Day are divorced. A Thai court four years ago gave full custody of the girls, Annie and Aleena, to Mr Day, with no access to Ms Onwarat, reported Pattaya103.com (story here), which broke the story.

Ms Onwarat deserted the children for 18 months when they were very young, said the report.

Mr Day took the children to the UK and has been raising them alone, but allowing them to communicate with their mother online.

thailandske-jenter
At the end of May, he brought the girls, aged six and 10, to Thailand to see their mother. He allowed Ms Onwarat to take them for several days.

When Ms Onwarat did not return them on June 1 as agreed, Mr Day contacted the police, who searched her home and found it empty.

Ms Onwarat is now married to a Norwegian man who left Thailand for work on April 27. The couple have a three-year-old son, Marvin.

Also known by her previous married name Wiganda Day and her maiden name Onwarat Suphikunphong, Ms Onwarat is believed to be in hiding with her three children.

She was seen driving a white Toyota Vios, red plate registration 2995, issued in Chon Buri.

The Gazette notes that the registered address on the arrest warrant marks a residence in Pathum Thani, on the outskirts of Bangkok.

Alternatively, Ms Onwarat may be hiding out in her home province of Ayutthaya, Ms Dillow noted.

Anyone with information about the group’s whereabouts are urged to notify nearest police station or call the police hotline 191.

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Judge blocks Leicester woman’s holiday in India over child abduction fear


August 9 , 2014

Source: Leicester-mercury

India_Abducted_Child

A mother has been forbidden from going on holiday by a judge after her ex-husband and father of her six-year-old son objected, saying he feared he might never see them again.

The woman, who is in her 30s, insisted she had absolutely no intention of abducting her British-born son and keeping him in India, where she was born.

However, Judge Clifford Bellamy has come down in favour of the father and banned the mother’s trip.

The father, also in his 30s, was born in Leicester and the mother has lived in the city for nine years since their arranged marriage.

 India Political Maps

However, the mother is now living alone with her son.

The Family Court heard the father was engaged in a running battle with his ex-wife over contact with their little boy.

All three have UK passports.

The mother told Judge Bellamy she was desperate to take her son to India to meet his wider family and “explore his cultural roots”.

Denying any intention not to return to Britain, she said she no longer viewed India as her home.

The judge was told her son was doing well in an English school and that, for 18 months, she had been in a new relationship with a man who had a steady job in the UK.

He was also told that divorced single mothers were disapproved of in India.

However, Judge Bellamy said India had not signed up to the Hague Convention – which enshrines the international ban on child abduction.

If the mother failed to return to Britain with his son, the father would face a formidable challenge fighting his case through the Indian courts, the court heard.

Experts had reported that it was in the boy’s best interests, culturally and emotionally, to form a strong relationship with his father.

Despite her new relationship and her British citizenship, the mother had no family ties in the UK and spoke only broken English, the court was told.

Blocking her holiday plans, the judge said there was “a risk” that she might try to keep her son in India.

 

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Plano father fights for daughter in parental kidnapping case


July 13 , 2013

Source: Star Local News

“Hermer and his parents have spent around $75,000 on an international custody battle that has left them drained both monetarily and emotionally”.

Bart Hermer

For the last two years, Plano father Bart Hermer has dedicated his life to seeing his daughter returned from overseas. Alessia was abducted by her mother and represents one of more than 200,000 family abduction cases in the United States every year.

Bart Hermer carries a pacifier with him at all times. It’s purple with flecks of glitter and has the words “Princess Alessia” scrolled across the plastic.

He keeps the soother as a small comfort of his own — a reminder that his 2-year-old daughter, Alessia, is still out there and waiting to be reunited with her father.

For now, Alessia lives in the United Kingdom with her mother, 40-year-old Simmone Cohen, who is a British citizen. Hermer and his parents have spent around $75,000 on an international custody battle that has left them drained both monetarily and emotionally.

For the last two years, Plano father Bart Hermer has dedicated his life to seeing his daughter returned from overseas. Alessia was abducted by her mother and represents one of more than 200,000 family abduction cases in the United States every year.

Every night, Hermer sleeps on a bed in the nursery to feel closer to his daughter, but an empty crib is a constant reminder that the woman who first stole his heart, also stole his most precious possession.

Blindsided

Hermer and Cohen’s relationship started out as a picture-perfect romance. He fell for her British accent and stunning looks when they met on a single’s cruise in 2007, and months later they were visiting each other’s countries. The aging couple talked about both wanting children, so within a matter of months they were engaged.

“I swear on my daughter’s life, heart and soul we never had an argument,” Hermer said, reflecting on the blissful times. “We were the envy of everybody we knew.”

The two began planning for a wedding at the Dallas Arboretum — plans that were delayed when Cohen found out she was pregnant with Alessia. When the baby was 10 months old, Cohen planned a regular trip for the three of them to visit her family in London. Hermer said he had just been laid off from his job as an advertising executive, but Cohen had income from her marketing business she ran from their Plano home.

While going through customs at the London airport, Hermer was pulled aside and questioned. A customs officer accused him of trying to enter the country with the intention to live there — information Hermer’s fiancee had told them. As much as Hermer denied the story, he was sent back to the United States alone, and Cohen and Alessia remained in England.

“I was set up,” Hermer said. “The truth was she just wanted a baby.”

Back in Texas, Cohen’s designer clothes still hang in the closet. Her laptop was left behind, and a Plano detective confirmed in writing that she wrote messages contradicting their happy engagement.

“I definitley [sic] don’t want to marry him,” Cohen wrote in one Skype message to a family member. “… he knows I am delaying things so he may have guessed,” she wrote to a friend.

“She played him like a sucker,” Hermer’s mother, Kathy, said. “She lied about everything.”

An epidemic

The Hermer’s are not alone in their daily struggle with parental kidnapping. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) estimates more than 200,000 family abduction cases occur annually in the United States.

In cases involving children taken from the United States to the United Kingdom, 92 percent of cases are unresolved for longer than a year, and 38 percent are unresolved for more than five years, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database.

Hermer has tried to use international child abduction laws from the Hague Convention to get Alessia back. Article 3 of the convention talks about the “rights of custody” and says the courts must use the law of the state — in this case Texas — where the child was a resident before being abducted.

Even with letters of support from Texas Senators Florence Shapiro and Jane Nelson and state Rep. Jerry Madden, most of Hermer’s evidence was not allowed in the British court.

“I was not given a fair trial,” Hermer said. “I have solid evidence from credible people … and that evidence was not allowed. A lot of these countries will not return a child because of gender bias.”

After a crushing loss with denial of appeal, Hermer is trying a different approach. He hopes Attorney General Greg Abbott will push to have Cohen extradited to Texas on felony kidnapping charges.

“If my child stays there, it sets the precedent for thousands of children in the future,” Hermer said.

Time is ticking

Two years have passed with Hermer devoting his life to studying state and federal parental kidnapping law. He now works as assistant director of the Global Missing Children Fund.

Precedence from other international kidnapping cases shows that courts consider a child acclimated to their new country once they reach 3 years old. After that point, the courts are reluctant to return the child.

“I’ve got six months,” Hermer said, desperation in his voice. “She’s my life. She’s my pride. I don’t want to catch up with her in my 70s.”

He sees her occassionally when he is allowed to enter England for scheduled court hearings, but the trips are expensive and visitation is never guaranteed.

“When they are together it’s like they’ve never been separated for a moment,” Kathy said. “They had such a tight bond.”

Hermer is praying that someone will hear Alessia’s story and know how to help. While he is openly thankful for the ongoing support from Jewish Family Services, a separate fund has been set up for donations to offset some of the court costs at www.firstgiving.com/Bring-Alessia-Home.

“I’ll never quit until she’s in that crib,” he said. “I don’t care what it takes.”

 

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Law Firm backs new international child abduction campaign -“Latest child abduction figures come as no surprise.


January 17, 2013

Source:bournemouthchamber.org.uk

A NEW campaign highlighting a big rise in the number of children abducted and taken abroad by an estranged parent has been backed by Chamber members Ellis Jones Solicitors. A total of 512 cases involving 84 different countries were reported to British authorities in 2011/2012, according to data from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). That compares with 272 in 51 countries in 2003/2004, an increase of 88 per cent in eight years.

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It is illegal for a parent to take a child overseas without permission from others with parental responsibility. However 24 per cent of Britons are unaware it is a crime, according to separate FCO research. The research revealed that although 74 per cent of people thought fathers were most likely to abduct their children, statistics from the charity Reunite International suggested 70 per cent of their cases concerned mothers taking a child.

Katie_Taft_Solicitor
The FCO has now launched a national campaign to highlight the issue. Katie Taft, a solicitor with Ellis Jones who specialises in child abduction work, said the national increase in cases was borne out by her own experiences.
The Dorset and New Forest law firm is a member of the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit specialist panel and a recognised expert, regularly representing both mothers and fathers to secure the prompt return of their child or children.

Katie said: “We’ve seen an increased workload over the last few years which is to be expected given the rise in the number of families with parents who originate from different countries. Therefore, the latest FCO figures really come as no surprise. Currently we’re handing a number of cases of this nature across the South of England. “Child abduction causes a huge amount of distress and we welcome the FCO’s decision to launch a national campaign to highlight the issue.

“It’s important that this subject is kept in the public spotlight and that parents think twice before causing significant distress to their children, and other members of the family, by even contemplating abducting a child,” Katie added.

Parents, or those with parental responsibility, who fear their child has been or is at risk of being abducted can contact Katie or Sean McNally on 01202 636223. Alternatively the International Child Abduction and Contact Unit can be reached on 020 7911 7047/7045 from 10am to 4pm.

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Boy abducted in Qatar sends ‘get me home’ plea to David Cameron


August 12, 2012

Source: The Guardian

Adam Jones

Adam Jones says he has been kept under virtual house arrest.

A British schoolboy who was allegedly abducted in Qatar nearly three years ago has appealed to David Cameron to help reunite him with his mother.

Adam Jones was separated from his British mother while visiting his dead father’s relatives in the Qatari capital Doha in October 2009. Since then the 13-year-old says he has been kept under virtual house arrest despite attempts by his mother, Rebecca Jones, to free him.

Adam also claims he has been punched and kicked by family relatives. He says he is not allowed out alone, has no internet access and is unable to call his mother. Cameron has written to his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani, and the Arab state’s emir to demand that “Adam’s voice is heard” and that the case is “speedily resolved”.

In a recent letter to Adam, the prime minister pledges that he will personally keep urging the Qatari royal family to ensure that his wish to return to his mother will be granted. Cameron states: “I was very sorry to read that you are still separated from your mum. This must be very hard for you, but I want you to know that you are still in my thoughts. I will keep trying as hard as I can to help you, and I hope your family situation will change for the better very soon.”

In a handwritten addendum, Cameron states: “I promise I have not forgotten about you – and will keep trying to make some progress.”

His letter followed a plea from Adam, who 11 months earlier had turned to him in desperation. Dated 25 April 2012, Adam states: “It is nearly one year since I wrote to you asking for your help. I was so happy when you wrote back and told me you would do your best to help me get home. Did you forget about me?

“I want to go home now and I’m very sad and lonely.”

Adam reveals that he has also asked for Prince Charles’s intervention because “nothing has happened and I think no one cares about me”.

The alleged abduction of Adam is a continuing focus of diplomacy between Britain and the Arab state, his case having being raised personally by the Queen during a meeting with Thani. The Foreign Office’s child abduction section is also involved, with a spokesman saying it recognised the “enormous distress faced by Rebecca Jones in being separated from her son and we sincerely hope she is reunited with him soon”.

Yet Thani’s written response to Cameron states only that he will try “to find an amicable solution that preserves the rights of all parties involved”.

Jones said her son was effectively a prisoner at the high-walled, gated home of his Qatari relatives and was forbidden to visit friends. Even at school, the 45-year-old from Sheffield claimed, Adam was escorted between classrooms and held in a room after lessons to be picked up by relatives.

The ordeal began after she and Adam were invited to visit the parents of her late ex-husband on 3 October 2009. Rebecca was separated from Adam’s Qatari father Jamal, who died in a motorbike accident in 2005, but stayed in contact with his family to allow them access to Adam.

On the morning they were due to return to Bahrain, where Jones had taken a teaching job, she said she received a call asking if Adam could visit his sick grandmother. She agreed and a driver picked up Adam. Shortly after, his uncle, Fahad al-Mudhaki, rang and asked to meet her to discuss dividing up the proceeds of land belonging to Adam’s father. Although the documents were in Arabic, Jones says she trusted Mudhaki’s explanation that they comprised paperwork designed to safeguard Adam’s inheritance and signed them. “I just wanted to go home with my son and was not interested in the lands or money my son had been left by his father. It did not occur to me what would happen.”

The documents were to be used to kickstart the Mudhakis’ custody claim against her. Within minutes of signing, Jones says she realised she had been duped. She alleges that her husband’s relatives told her that she had been deliberately deceived: “I’ll never forget what Adam’s uncle Fahad told me: ‘I have lied to you and tricked you, Jamal did not take your son but I will’.”

The Mudhakis had made a court order in 2008 to win custody of Adam, confirming to her the abduction was premeditated. A custody hearing was already arranged for 13 October, days after the alleged kidnapping. “I felt sick to the stomach to realise that I had fallen easily into their trap.”

Adam, then 10, has been separated from his mother ever since, despite a series of custody appeals and Jones’s offer to waive Adam’s inheritance. A subsequent hearing ruled that Jones, who also has a four-year-old daughter Alex, is allowed to visit Adam twice weekly, but never unsupervised.

She says the teenager is increasingly depressed. Since being taken, Adam has seen his sister twice, while the Mudhakis refuse to let Adam’s British grandmother, 74, visit him.

“For the last three years Alex won’t sleep in her own bed,” said Jones, “she’s scared somebody is going to take her.”

Fahad Mudhaki is a senior police officer, a fact which Rebecca believes he has used against her. During her first visit to see Adam, eight weeks after he was taken, she said that 15 armed police officers surrounded the Mudhaki house and Jones was flanked by officers throughout their meeting. She says she has suffered a constant campaign of intimidation, sometimes receiving up to 20 calls a day from police, and each time she enters Qatar to visit Adam is terrified that she might be arrested.

A document from the British embassy in Doha states “the child was kidnapped by his uncle Mr Fahad Juma Abdullah al-Mudhaki, a Qatari police officer”.

Jones said: “I’ve been terrorised and treated as a criminal. We are still suffering every day without our little boy. The pain has not gotten easier as time has passed because I cannot accept what has happened.”

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Mother facing kidnap charge loses US extradition fight


Source: BBC News

A mother accused of international parental kidnapping has lost her fight against extradition to America.

The High Court ruled Eileen Clark, who moved to Britain with her three children in 1998, should be returned to the US.

The kidnapping allegations, made more than 12 years ago, were brought against Mrs Clark by her ex-husband John Clark.

The US citizen was arrested at her home in Oxfordshire in July 2010, following a US government request for her return.

Lawyers for Mrs Clark, 54, said her worsening psychiatric problems and fear of flying would make extradition “oppressive”.

‘Hardship not oppressive’

They also criticised US authorities for not seeking her return earlier, as she had been living “openly” in the UK since December 1998 and had put down “deep roots”.

But Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Underhill, sitting in London, dismissed her appeal.

Mr Justice Underhill said: “We accept there will be hardship for the appellant if she is returned to the US to stand trial, but we do not believe that hardship can properly be characterised as oppressive.”

Mrs Clark had left her husband in February 1995, taking their children with her.

Jury indictment

In June 1995, state prosecutors had charged her with “custodial interference” after she travelled from the family’s New Mexico home to stay with a friend in California.

Both parents retained legal custody of the children after divorcing in 1997.

A US grand jury eventually indicted her with the kidnapping charge after Mrs Clark moved to Britain with the children, who are also US citizens.

In March last year, Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that extradition could go ahead.

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Middle East / Lebanon: Experts urge state to curb Parental child abduction


Source: The Daily Star

BEIRUT: The government was urged Monday to sign up to an international agreement that would help reduce the rate of child abduction in Lebanon.

Experts from several countries gathered to discuss The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, of which Lebanon is not a signatory, and measures to combat what is a growing trend of missions relocated against their will.

“Our biggest problems come with non-signatories of The Hague convention,” said Allison Shalaby, the acting director of British anti-abduction charity Reunite. “The more awareness we can raise the more we can reduce the number of abductions.”

Shalaby, whose own daughter was abducted to Egypt, said that a large proportion of abductions were committed by parents who are unaware such action is illegal.

“A lot of parents don’t realize that they can actually abduct their own children,” she said.

Statistics collected by Reunite suggest that 70 percent of abductions are undertaken by mothers. Shalaby said that her organization had seen a 45 percent annual rise in reported cases.

British Ambassador Tom Fletcher, whose mission helped to organize the conference alongside the U.K.’s Foreign Office, said diplomats were increasingly finding themselves dealing with abduction cases.

“These are always complex, traumatic and sad,” he told The Daily Star. “There are never any winners. We wanted to explore how we can protect the children involved more effectively. This conference attempts to do that, for the first time bringing together embassy staff from across the world, with governments and relevant NGOs.”

He urged all countries to sign up to The Hague Convention, which protects children from abduction.

“We find that Lebanese authorities are usually keen to help resolve tricky cases. [The convention] gives us a better framework for dealing with cases of this sort.

“We should remember that these cases are not one-way – we are also trying to combat child abduction from the region to the West,” Fletcher said.

Personal status disputes in Lebanon are decided through religious courts and often favor the side of fathers.

The judiciary does not consider international parental kidnapping as a crime and it is permitted to prevent family members from leaving the country, even if they hold dual nationality.

A clutch of Western countries already alert foreigners to the risk of child abduction in Lebanon.

“Lebanese family law is very different from U.K. law and particular caution is needed if child custody is [or becomes] an issue,” Britain’s Lebanon travel advice states.

Australia’s Foreign Office warns dual nationality parents it is powerless to intervene in abduction cases committed in Lebanon.

“Australians [including mothers with children] have been prevented from leaving Lebanon when relatives have legally placed border alerts [known as ‘stop orders’] on them,” it says. “The Australian Government cannot prevent or overturn the issue of a ‘stop order’ on an Australian citizen.”

With a large expatriate population in Lebanon, Australia is no stranger to the idea of child abduction involving Lebanese victims.

Earlier this month, Melbourne’s Herald Sun reported that more than 100 Lebanese minors had been transferred to Australia on marriage visas, requiring them to marry their sponsors within nine months of arrival.

“In one case, Lebanese [teen] sought protection after she arrived on a prospective spouse visa for an arranged marriage to a man decades her senior,” the paper reported.

“She found he was a violent drunk who kept a previous wife and three children in an adjoining townhouse. She was granted a protection visa after her own family threatened to kill her.”

Lebanese lawyers Ibrahim Traboulsi, Laura Sfeir and Shawkat Howeilla offered advice to conference participants on the views various religious courts had on child abduction. Representatives of General Security were also present at the event, the first of its kind in the region.

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English courts will continue to send home children brought here wrongfully


The UK takes seriously its obligations under the Hague convention dealing with parents who abduct their children

Eight years old girl with hand in back pocket of her father who has arm protectively about her

The Hague convention was drawn up with parents who flee overseas with their children in mind. Photograph: Ken Welsh/Alamy

More than 30 years ago the Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction was drawn up with its authors “desiring to protect children internationally from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal” from their home country. The convention requires signatory countries to return children who have been unilaterally removed abroad so that the courts in their home countries can decide on the future arrangements for them.

The typical case the framers of the treaty had in mind was one in which a parent snatched a child away from its primary carer and fled overseas. Now, with relationships between people of different nationalities more commonplace, the situation is often that one of the parents takes the children back to his or her country of origin. That was the position in Re E, a case decided by the supreme court last week.

Historically the English courts, in contrast to those of a number of other signatories, have taken their treaty obligations very seriously and, applying the convention strictly, have returned children to their countries of habitual residence. In doing so they have frequently rejected a mother’s attempt to rely on the limited exceptions to the convention obligations, most commonly that a return would expose the child to a grave risk of physical or psychological harm.

The British mother in Re E who had left her allegedly violent Norwegian husband to come with the children to England was ordered by a high court judge to return, with safeguards being put in place pending a court decision in Oslo. The mother appealed, arguing that the convention conflicted with her own and her children’s article 8 rights to private and family life (under the European convention on human rights) and with the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, which requires any action concerning children to be determined in accordance with their best interests.

Given the English courts’ traditional adherence to the aims of the Hague convention, it is not surprising that the supreme court rejected the mother’s appeal in Re E and ordered her and the children’s return to Norway. In doing so it reasserted the principles that have underpinned the traditional approach, that one parent’s unilateral actions should not be allowed to pre-empt a legitimate dispute about a child’s future and that a home country’s courts are likely to be best placed to assess the evidence and information surrounding such a dispute.

The supreme court’s decision is arguably at odds with the judgment of the European court of human rights in Neulinger, in which the Strasbourg court decided that, even where there was no grave risk, a forced return could interfere with the mother’s and child’s right to a private and family life. The Neulinger decision suggests that the country being asked to return a child to its home country should undertake the investigation into the best future arrangements for the child.

The English court has reconciled the conflict, asserting that the convention is consistent with the article 8 right to private and family life; the supreme court decided that the convention properly balances the two key aspects of a child’s best interests in the context of wrongful removal from their home country: to be reunited with their parents and to be brought up in a safe environment.

What this means in practice is that the English courts will continue to be reluctant to refuse the return of a child wrongfully brought here from overseas. Whether other signatories of the convention will be as strict in its application remains to be seen. The list of member countries continues to grow – Japan recently ratified the convention and India is under pressure to do the same soon. How they and other countries will reconcile their treaty obligations with those imposed by other instruments of international law is unclear.

Joe Vaitilingam is a partner at Hughes Fowler Carruthers solicitors, specialising in financial and children issues arising on divorce

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Child abduction by parents among Indian diaspora raises concern


Source: Inewsone.com , New Delhi, June 19

(IANS) Increasing number of child abductions by parents among the Indian diaspora has become a cause of concern as India is yet to join the internationalconvention on the issue, a British minister has said.

‘The cases where a parent abducts their child and takes it away to India are problematic because India does not have laws to deal with parental child abduction,’ British Minister for Equalities Lynne Featherstone said here.

The minister urged the Indian government to accede to the UN Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The British minister was here on a three-day visit to India June 15-17 to seek greater collaboration between the two countries on the issue of violence against women and gender equality issues.

According to Featherstone, the UK government receives at least one complaint per month of alleged abduction of a child by a parent of Indian origin. There are about eight such cases currently being investigated, the minister said.

The children were abducted by one of the parents and brought to India in order to gain the advantage in matrimonial and child custody disputes.

Child abduction cases by parents are high in countries which have a large population of people of Indian origin such as the UK, the US and Canada.

About 70 children were abducted by parents of Indian origin in the UK in the past eight years, according to a report.

The US State Department’s Office of Child Issues, which helps in child abduction cases, is currently working on more than 100 cases of children taken to India without the consent of the parent left behind. The State Department has said that there are few remedies if a child is abducted to India.

There are more unresolved cases of parental child abduction from the US to India than any other country with the exception of Mexico.

About 85 countries have ratified the 1980 Hague Convention on Parental Child Abduction. Under the convention, member countries undertake to return children abducted by a parent to their homes under the jurisdiction of the courts in the home country.

Parental child abduction has become one of the many issues that have been added to the agenda for inter-governmental discussions with visiting delegations from the US, Britain and Canada.

Several NGOs and activists in India and abroad have urged the government to accede to the Hague Convention.

On the occasion of Father’s Day (June 20), a Bangalore-based non-governmental organisation, Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), has demanded that India ratify the Hague Convention and reform family law in India.

California-based Rakshak Foundation has also appealed to the union government to safeguard children’s rights and make parental abduction a cognizable, non-bailable crime.

Abduction of a child by one parent violates the child’s right to live in the security of the familiar home and prevents access to both parents. More and more child custody and abduction cases are landing in Indian courts relating to foreign citizens as well as non resident Indians (NRIs).

The Supreme Court has ruled recently that Indian courts have jurisprudence on child custody cases even if the child is a citizen of a foreign country. The courts apply the principle of best interest of the child, taking a foreign court decree as only one of the factors for deciding on the custodial dispute.

There have been occasions when the father had taken away the child from the country of residence, gone to India and left the child with his grandparents while he flew to work in a third country.

At other times, it is the woman who took the child on the pretext of visiting India.

Many abducted children are told that the other parent is dead or has gone away. Often one parent tries to poison the child’s mind to the other parent, which often causes psychological and emotional problems for the child.

‘Children in such cases are voiceless victims and their right to be connected to both biological parents needs to be protected,’ according to the Rakshak Foundation.

Often child custody cases lead to the child being deprived of the love, affection and care of one parent.

‘Joint custody and shared parenting are the best solutions for normal development of the child,’ the foundation said.

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