Japan: The Aftermath of Japan’s Ratification of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction:


An Investigation into the State Apparatus of the Modern Japanese Family The Aftermath of Japan’s Ratification of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction: An Investigation into the State Apparatus of the Modern Japanese Family

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Author: Takeshi Hamano, University of Kitakyushu, Japan
Published: August 4, 2017
Citation: Hamano, T. (2017). The Aftermath of Japan’s Ratification of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction: An Investigation into the State Apparatus of the Modern Japanese Family. IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijas.3.1.03


Abstract

The aim of this paper is to discuss the ways in which a recent international dispute has evoked an inquiry about the family ideology of modern Japan. Initially, it explains a recent issue on Japan’s ratification to the Hague Convention on child abduction. In April 2014, the Japanese government finally ratified the Hague Convention on child abduction, an international Convention to resolve disputes on international parental child abduction. However, skepticism toward Japan still remains, because, in order to put the international Convention into practice, Japan has not proceed to radical family law reform at this stage. To recognize this incongruent situation, this paper explains that the present Japanese family law is incompatible with the principle of this international Convention. Although the Convention premises shared parenting in the grant of joint child custody even after divorce, Japanese family law keeps the solo-custody approach, which is necessarily preserved in order to maintain Japan’s unique family registration system: the koseki system. Arguing that the koseki system, registering all nationals by family unit, is an ideological state apparatus of Japan as a modern nation state since the nineteenth century, this paper concludes that recent international disputes regarding parental child abduction in Japan inquires about a radical question on national family norm of Japan.

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Goldman Act bolsters fight for return of abducted children


August 5, 2014

Source: The Hub

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Capt. Paul Toland (from left), whose daughter was kidnapped in Japan; Bindu Philips, of Plainsboro, whose two sons were abducted to India; and David Goldman, whose son was abducted to Brazil and returned after a five-year ordeal, joined Rep. Chris Smith in calling for passage of the Goldman Act to help families who have been victimized by international abductions.

A bill empowering the U.S. State Department to aggressively pursue the return of internationally abducted children is headed to the president’s desk after being approved by Congress.

The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, the fourth bill of its kind introduced by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4), was drafted after Smith became involved with David Goldman’s fight to be reunited with his son, Sean.

According to Jeff Sagnip, the congressman’s press secretary, Goldman’s wife absconded with Sean from the family’s Tinton Falls home in June 2004, bringing him to Brazil when he was 4 years old without seeking custody of Sean or legally divorcing Goldman in a U.S. court.

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She subsequently died in childbirth, Sagnip said, and the Brazilian government held that her partner at the time of her death should maintain custody of Sean.

Brazil is a signatory of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but chose to ignore the policies outlined by the international agreement, Sagnip said.

“Previously, the State Department would say ‘… There’s nothing that we can do,” Sagnip said. “[For a parent] trying to get a foreign court to award custody, it’s very difficult and returns are rare.”

The Sean and David Goldman Act (H.R. 3212) would allow U.S. embassies to apply pressure in incremental phases to dissuade governments from ignoring international law and sheltering abductors.

“[This bill] provides a series of tools which vary in their severity, from mild to strong,” Sagnip said. “The State Department is able to start with a little pressure and then build the pressure [on foreign governments refusing to return abducted American children to their homes.]”

Those tools include a private diplomatic protest called a demarche, a public condemnation of the foreign government, the withholding of economic aid and, eventually, demands for the extradition of the abductor.

Goldman, who was reunited with his son after five years of heavy investment both financial and emotional, said the passage of the bill provides hope for parents facing the same struggle he did.

“It was a long road, nearly five years, thanks to a tremendous effort of Congressman Smith and his staff,” Goldman said. “It was a great thing to do. It was the right thing to do. It’s another step closer to reuniting families. Next step: the White House.”

For victims of international child abduction and their parents, Smith said the Sean and David Goldman Act represents a shift in U.S. policy that will benefit separated family members.

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“Many children and parents have tragically lost years separated from each other in violation of U.S. and international law,” Smith said. “They have missed birthdays, holidays, and family time that they can never get back. H.R. 3212 ensures that they will now receive significant help from the U.S. government in their fight to recover their children.”

According to Sagnip, the bill allows the State Department to use the leverage already at its disposal in international abduction cases — leverage that is invaluable to an individual parent who only has so many resources to expend.

“How can a parent in Rutherford, New Jersey … fight a battle that’s halfway across the world? How do they pay for it?” Sagnip said. “It’s a tremendous expense, it’s a tremendous undertaking, and this [bill] puts the State Department in their corner.”

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Court-appointed visitation supervisor charged in parental abduction case


August 29, 2013

Source: The Republic.com

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine woman appointed by a court to supervise a visit between a mother and children has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child after the mother and kids fled the state.

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Jennifer Dore of Benton was the court-appointed visitation supervisor for Bethmarie Retamozzo. Authorities say she allowed Retamozzo to drive away with her children on Aug. 15 from Waterville.

Police say the 37-year-old Dore didn’t disclose the information to police until over five hours after Retamozzo left. Police said she placed the children at risk.

Retamozzo is being held without bail at the Kennebec County Jail on two felony counts of criminal restraint by a parent. She and the children were found Aug. 18 in South Carolina. She is expected in court Wednesday.

 

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Amnesty Int’l: Disappearances in Mexico a ‘Crisis’


June 5 , 2013

Source: ABC News

Amnesty International: Kidnappings in Mexico a ‘Crisis’

The number of unsolved disappearances in Mexico constitutes a national scandal and a human rights crisis, Amnesty International said Tuesday, citing what it called a systematic failure by police and prosecutors to investigate thousands of cases that have piled up since 2006.

Rupert Knox, Amnesty’s Mexico investigator, said relatives are often forced to search for missing loved ones themselves, sometimes at considerable risk.

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Adding insult to injury, Knox said police and prosecutors often don’t even bother to use the information that relatives dig up. Instead, police routinely assume that the missing are caught up in Mexico’s drug cartel conflicts.

“They are stigmatized, they are treated with disdain, and the typical thing is to say the victims were members of criminal gangs,” Knox said. “That is a demonstration of the negligence that has allowed this problem to grow into a national scandal and a human rights crisis.”

The federal government says some 26,000 people have been reported missing since the government launched an offensive against drug cartels in late 2006, though officials have said the true number is probably lower, because some people reported missing have since been found or accounted for but never taken off the list.

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Brenda Rangel is the sister of Hector Rangel, who disappeared along with two friends in 2009 after being stopped by police for a traffic violation and was never seen again. She is sure her brother wasn’t involved in criminal activity. A young businessman, he had gone to the northern state of Coahuila, which is a hotbed of the Zetas drug gang, to collect a payment from a client.

Rangel says her brother last called to say he was in police custody, and she said the family has given authorities the number of the squad car, and even the names of the policemen involved in the detention. But she said prosecutors told her the officers were fired from the local police force in Monclova, Coahuila, and couldn’t be located. In Mexico, it is not uncommon for local policemen to work for drug gangs.

Nearing the fourth year in her brother’s disappearance, that kind of shrugging response is driving Rangel and her family to desperation, and into danger, since they can’t let it rest.

“We have received death threats,” she said, adding: “I have run risks, I have gone into safe houses, I have had to disguise myself in different ways to look for my brother.”

One by one, other parents and siblings of missing Mexicans stood up and recounted their horror stories: cases in which authorities themselves, police or the military, appear to have been involved in the disappearances.

Mexico’s government announced last week that it is creating a special unit to search for missing people. But the unit has only 12 federal investigators and a group of federal police agents to cover all the cases.

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Knox said such agencies have been tried before in Mexico but have accomplished little, in part because they have lacked the resources, manpower and authority to really perform their task.

“The authorities have always seen them (the special units) as a way to reduce public pressure and blow off steam,” Knox said.

While Rangel and the other victims’ families maintain faith that their loved ones are still alive, perhaps subjected to forced labor by the drug cartels, Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission has received information on 15,921 unidentified bodies that have passed through morgues in Mexico, some of which could belong to the missing.

A recent case in Mexico City has highlighted the difficulties surrounded cases of suspected disappearances.

On May 26, a group of young people disappeared from a Mexico City after-hours bar just off the city’s main Reforma boulevard, a block and a half from the U.S. Embassy. Relatives had initially indicated 11 people were missing, but authorities raised the number of 12 Tuesday night.

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The young people were from the rough-and-tumble Tepito neighborhood and their disappearance only came to light after their parents and other Tepito residents held a protest that blocked a major road. Media reports later said that the fathers of two of the missing young men were suspected former Tepito crime bosses currently doing time in prison.

A witness who said he escaped from the abduction said the young people were taken away by gunmen in masks after partying through the night at the bar. Prosecutors said Tuesday night that surveillance video was found showing the young people entering the bar, but wouldn’t say if there was footage showing them leaving or being abducted.

The witness who reported the kidnapping can no longer be found. The bar’s owner also is missing, but prosecutors said Tuesday night that two waiters and a woman had been detained in the case.

The families have put up missing-person posters with photos of their loved ones throughout the area, and say that almost 10 days later they still have not come home.

 

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Parental Child Abduction and Parental alienation Syndrome PAS


February 28, 2013

Source: Socialworktoday

Eight Manifestations of Parental Alienation Syndrome

1. A Campaign of Denigration
Alienated children are consumed with hatred of the targeted parent. They deny any positive past experiences and reject all contact and communication. Parents who were once loved and valued seemingly overnight become hated and feared.

2. Weak, Frivolous, and Absurd Rationalizations
When alienated children are questioned about the reasons for their intense hostility toward the targeted parent, the explanations offered are not of the magnitude that typically would lead a child to reject a parent. These children may complain about the parent’s eating habits, food preparation, or appearance. They may also make wild accusations that could not possibly be true.

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3. Lack of Ambivalence About the Alienating Parent
Alienated children exhibit a lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support. That parent is perceived as perfect, while the other is perceived as wholly flawed. If an alienated child is asked to identify just one negative aspect of the alienating parent, he or she will probably draw a complete blank. This presentation is in contrast to the fact that most children have mixed feelings about even the best of parents and can usually talk about each parent as having both good and bad qualities.

4. The “Independent Thinker” Phenomenon
Even though alienated children appear to be unduly influenced by the alienating parent, they will adamantly insist that the decision to reject the targeted parent is theirs alone. They deny that their feelings about the targeted parent are in any way influenced by the alienating parent and often invoke the concept of free will to describe their decision.

5. Absence of Guilt About the Treatment of the Targeted Parent 
Alienated children typically appear rude, ungrateful, spiteful, and cold toward the targeted parent, and they appear to be impervious to feelings of guilt about their harsh treatment. Gratitude for gifts, favors, or child support provided by the targeted parent is nonexistent. Children with parental alienation syndrome will try to get whatever they can from that parent, declaring that it is owed to them.

6. Reflexive Support for the Alienating Parent in Parental Conflict 
Intact families, as well as recently separated and long-divorced couples, will have occasion for disagreement and conflict. In all cases, the alienated child will side with the alienating parent, regardless of how absurd or baseless that parent’s position may be. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with interparental conflicts. Children with parental alienation syndrome have no interest in hearing the targeted parent’s point of view. Nothing the targeted parent could do or say makes any difference to these children.

7. Presence of Borrowed Scenarios 
Alienated children often make accusations toward the targeted parent that utilize phrases and ideas adopted from the alienating parent. Indications that a scenario is borrowed include the use of words or ideas that the child does not appear to understand, speaking in a scripted or robotic fashion, as well as making accusations that cannot be supported with detail.

8. Rejection of Extended Family
Finally, the hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so are his or her extended family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins are suddenly and completely avoided and rejected.

In a recent study (Baker & Darnall, 2007), targeted parents rated their children as experiencing these eight behavioral manifestations in a way that was generally consistent with Gardner’s theory. Parents reported that their children exhibited the eight behaviors with a high degree of frequency. One exception was alienated children being able to maintain a relationship with some members of the targeted parent’s extended family, which occurred in cases where that relative was actually aligned with the alienating parent. This suggests that the context of the contact with the targeted parent’s extended family (that relative’s role in the alienation) needs to be understood prior to concluding whether this component is present in the child.

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Study of Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome
Gardner identified parental alienation syndrome only 20 years ago. However, researchers and clinicians have been concerned about these cross-generational alliances for much longer. For example, divorce researchers such as Wallerstein and colleagues (2001) have noted that some children develop unhealthy alliances with one parent while rejecting the other. Family therapists have observed that, when a child is “taller” than a parent (i.e., able to look down on), it is usually because he or she is standing on the shoulders of the other parent (i.e., being supported by).

Although this problem has long been of concern to mental health practitioners, little research has been conducted on the specific problem of children rejecting one parent due to the overt or covert influence of the other. In contrast to the dearth of research, demand for knowledge about parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome is overwhelming. There are several Web sites devoted to this problem, many of which receive tens of thousands of visits each year. The few books on divorce that discuss this problem are best sellers, and there are several Internet chat groups comprised of anxious parents who fear that the other parent of their child is turning their child against them. Saddest of all are the parents who have already lost their child to parental alienation syndrome and want to know whether they will ever get the child back.

This is the question that guided the current study on parental alienation syndrome of adults who as children had been turned against one parent by their other parent (Baker, 2007). In order to participate in the study, the individuals needed to have been alienated from one parent as a child and had to believe that the alienation was at least in part due to the actions and attitudes of the other parent. Forty adults participated in in-depth, semistructured telephone interviews. A content analysis was conducted. Some of the major themes and research findings relevant to the work of social workers are the following:

Findings

Different Familial Contexts
Parental alienation syndrome can occur in intact families, as well as divorced families, and can be fostered by fathers, mothers, and noncustodial and custodial parents. The prototypical case is a bitter ex-wife turning the children against the father in response to postdivorce custody litigation. That is one but not the only pattern. Mental health professionals should be aware that other familial contexts exist within which parental alienation syndrome can occur so as to avoid ruling out parental alienation syndrome as an explanation because the family context does not fit the prototype.

Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Abuse
Many of the interviewees revealed that the alienating parent had emotionally, physically, or sexually abused them. These data should help put to rest the prevailing notion that all children (in their naive wisdom) will ally themselves with the parent better able to attend to their needs. The people interviewed appeared to side with the parent on whom they had become dependent and whose approval they were most afraid of losing, not the parent who was most sensitive or capable.

Apparent Psychopathology
A related finding is that many of the alienating parents appeared to have features of narcissistic and/or have a borderline or antisocial personality disorder, as well as being active alcoholics. Thus, social workers providing individual therapy with a client who may have been alienated from one parent by the other should be aware of the importance of exploring these other abuse and trauma factors in the client’s early history.

Cult Parallels
Cults offer a useful heuristic for understanding parental alienation syndrome. Alienating parents appear to use many emotional manipulation and thought reform strategies that cult leaders use. Awareness of this analogy can help individuals who experienced parental alienation syndrome (and their therapists) understand how they came to ally with a parent who was ultimately abusive and damaging. The analogy is also helpful for understanding the recovery and healing process.

The research and clinical literature on recovery from cults offers useful ideas for therapists working with adult children of parental alienation syndrome. For example, the way in which a person leaves a cult has ramifications for the recovery process. Cult members can walk away from a cult, be cast out of a cult, or be counseled out of a cult. Those who walk away (come to the realization on their own that the cult is not healthy for them) and those who are counseled out (those who are exposed to a deliberate experience designed to instigate the desire to leave) tend to fare better than those who are cast out (those who are rejected from the cult for failing to meet its regulations and strictures) (Langone, 1994).

Regardless of how the cult is abandoned, leaving represents only the beginning of the recovery process. Considerable time and effort is required (usually in therapy) to process the experience and undo the negative messages from the cult that have become incorporated into the self. The same may be true of adult children of parental alienation syndrome.

Different Pathways to Realization
There appear to be many different pathways to the realization that one has been manipulated by a parent to unnecessarily reject the other parent. Eleven catalysts were described by the interview participants. This represents both good and bad news. The good news is that there are many different ways to evolve from alienation to realization. The bad news is that there is no silver bullet or magic wand to spark that process. For some participants, it was a matter of time and gaining life experience. For others, it was the alienating parent turning on them and, for others, it was becoming a parent and being the target of parental alienation from their own children. For most, the process was just that—a process.

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There were a few epiphanies, but most experienced something like a slow chipping away of a long-held belief system, a slow awakening to a different truth and a more authentic self. Most gained self-respect and a connection to reality and were grateful to know “the truth.” At the same time, they acknowledged that this truth was hard won and quite painful. Once they were aware of the parental alienation, they had to come to terms with some painful truths, including that the alienating parent did not have their best interest at heart, that as children they had probably behaved very badly toward someone who did not deserve such treatment, and that they missed out on a relationship that may have had real value and benefit to them.

Long-Term Negative Effects
Not surprisingly, the adult children with parental alienation syndrome believed that this experience had negative long-term consequences for them. Many spoke of suffering from depression, turning to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain, failed relationships and multiple divorces and, most sadly, becoming alienated from their own children later in life. In this way, the intergenerational cycle of parental alienation syndrome was perpetuated.

Wide Range of Alienation Tactics
The adult children with parental alienation syndrome described a range of alienating strategies, including constant badmouthing of the targeted parent, chronic interference with visitation and communication, and emotional manipulation to choose one parent over the other. These same strategies were confirmed in a subsequent study of close to 100 targeted parents (Baker & Darnall, 2006). More than 1,300 specific actions described were independently coded into 66 types, 11 of which were mentioned by at least 20% of the sample. There was considerable but not complete overlap in the strategies identified by the targeted parents with those described by adult children.

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Senate Resolution Condemning International Child Abduction


December 5, 2012

Source: internationalfamilylawfirm.com

The U.S. Senate has today passed a “Bipartisan Resolution Calls on Countries to Do More to Prevent and Resolve Cases of Children Abducted by Parents Across International Borders.”

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The Resolution should be useful when seeking to prevent potential abduction to Japan, India, and Egypt, since those countries are specifically “reprimanded.”

The Resolution also reinforces claims that international child abduction is a form of child abuse.

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Dec 05,2012 – Boxer Praises Senate Passage of Resolution Condemning International Parental Child Abduction

Bipartisan Resolution Calls on Countries to Do More to Prevent and Resolve Cases of Children Abducted by Parents Across International Borders

Washington, D.C. – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) praised the passage of her bipartisan resolution condemning the international abduction of all children. The resolution garnered 28 cosponsors and passed the Senate by voice vote.

“I am so proud that today the Senate took a stand to condemn the tragic and devastating crime of child abduction,” Senator Boxer said. “This resolution is a resounding call to the international community to join together to prevent and resolve abduction cases.”

According to the U.S. Department of State, last year 1,367 American children were reported abducted by a parent from the United States to a foreign country.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the principal tool for a parent seeking the return of a child abducted across international borders. The Convention provides a legal framework for securing the return of an abducted child so that judicial authorities can make decisions on issues of custody and the best interests of the child. However, many countries do not participate in the Hague Abduction Convention and the Convention does not apply to abductions that occur before a country joins.

The resolution calls on all countries to join and fully comply with the Hague Abduction Convention and to take other steps to prevent and resolve cases of international parental child abduction.

The full text of the resolution is below.

RESOLUTION

Whereas international parental child abduction is a tragic and common occurrence;

Whereas the abduction of a child by one parent is a heartbreaking loss for the left-behind parent and deprives the child of a relationship with 2 loving parents;

Whereas, according to the Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of the United States Department of State from April 2010, research shows that abducted children are at risk of significant short- and long-term problems, including “anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, [and] aggressive behavior”;

Whereas, according to that report, left-behind parents may also experience substantial psychological and emotional issues, including feelings of “betrayal, sadness over the loss of their children or the end of their marriage, anger toward the other parent, anxiety, sleeplessness, and severe depression”, as well as financial strain while fighting for the return of a child;

Whereas, since 1988, the United States, which has a treaty relationship under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this preamble as the “Hague Abduction Convention’’) with 69 other countries, has agreed with its treaty partners to follow the terms of the Hague Abduction Convention;

Whereas the Hague Abduction Convention provides a legal framework for securing the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children to the countries of their habitual residence where competent courts can make decisions on issues of custody and the best interests of the children;

Whereas, according to the United States Department of State, the number of new cases of international child abduction from the United States increased from 579 in 2006 to 941 in 2011;

Whereas, in 2011, those 941 cases involved 1,367 children who were reported abducted from the United States by a parent and taken to a foreign country;

Whereas, in 2011, more than 660 children who were abducted from the United States and taken to a foreign country were returned to the United States;

Whereas 7 of the top 10 countries to which children from the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011 are parties to the Hague Abduction Convention, including Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia;

Whereas Japan, India, and Egypt are not parties to the Hague Abduction Convention and were also among the top 10 countries to which children in the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011;

Whereas, in many countries, such as Japan and India, international parental child abduction is not considered a crime, and custody rulings made by courts in the United States are not typically recognized by courts in those countries; and

Whereas Japan is the only member of the Group of 7 major industrialized countries that has not yet become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That—
(1) the Senate—

(A) condemns the international abduction of all children;

(B) urges countries identified by the United States Department of State as noncompliant or demonstrating patterns of noncompliance with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this resolution as the “Hague Abduction Convention”) to fulfill their commitment under international law to expeditiously implement the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;

(C) calls on all countries to become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention and to promptly institute measures to equitably and transparently address cases of international parental child abduction; and

(D) calls on all countries that have not become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention to develop a mechanism for the resolution of current and future cases of international parental child abduction that occur before those countries become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention in order to facilitate the prompt return of children abducted to those countries to the children’s countries of habitual residence; and

(2) it is the sense of the Senate that the United States should—

(A) vigorously pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned, and, where appropriate, seek the extradition of the parent that abducted the child;

(B) take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child abducted to a country that is a party to the Hague Abduction Convention is returned to the country of habitual residence of the child in compliance with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;

(C) continue to use diplomacy to encourage other countries to become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention and to take the necessary steps to effectively fulfill their responsibilities under the Hague Abduction Convention;

(D) use diplomacy to encourage countries that have not become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention to develop an institutionalized mechanism to transparently and expeditiously resolve current and future cases of international child abduction that occur before those countries become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention; and

(E) review the advisory services made available to United States citizens by the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Justice, and other United States Government agencies—

(i) to improve the prevention of international parental child abduction from the United States; and

(ii) to ensure that effective and timely assistance is provided to United States citizens who are parents of children abducted from the United States and taken to foreign countries.

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The Hague Convention is not enough to recover your child


July 8, 2012

Many left-behind parents are told that the Hague Convention will bring about the return of their abducted children. Some authorities say that if your child is abducted, you should follow procedures outlined by the Hague, but this is a flawed system that does not work.

Until 1980, there was no international system in place to help parents recover abducted children who had been taken to other nations. The Hague Convention attempted to create one, but it doesn’t work. If you take the time to read the well-intentioned text of the Hague, you’ll see its many flaws.

In our opinion, it’s not worth the large amounts of money, time and trouble to hire an attorney to try using the Hague Convention to get your child back. You aren’t likely to get him or her back — and even worse, the abducting parent could be “legitimized” by the courts in another nation.

Under the Hague Convention, a case must be filed in the country where the abductor has taken the child. The courts of that country tend to render their decisions in favor of their countrymen, as the Hague Convention focuses on residency, not citizenship. There is little concern for the fact that the child is a citizen of the country from which he or she was abducted, or for the possible detrimental effect on the child.

Even if the child was born in your country, if that child is found to be a “habitual resident” by the courts in another country, the child may be ordered to be returned to that country.

This underscores the need to act quickly.

Few, if any, of the Hague signatory countries are going to send anyone out to physically recover your child for you. Embassy officials will check on the child’s welfare, if it is known where the child is and if the abducting parent lets them.

As soon as abducting parents are aware that that they’ve been located, they’ll usually disappear with the children again.

And about hiring lawyers

You need to be aware that a great amount of money has been spent on lawyers in foreign abduction cases. The unfortunate fact is that they, most often, can’t practice in the foreign courts and are required to hire associate lawyers in the foreign country.

Note: they often have no qualifications or experience working with child abduction cases.

More money…

Educate yourself

Many resources are available to help you learn about parental child abduction. If you’re dealing with an abduction, the better informed you are, the better equipped you’ll be to cope.

Recover your child

Time is of the essence. Parentally abducted children are helpless on their own and confused by the irrational and sometimes abusive acts of non-custodial parents who are supposed to have their best interests in mind. ABP World Group Ltd. has the manpower and the know-how to rigorously cover all avenues, and bring your child home.

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One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

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NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271

Help reunite families destroyed by parental abduction


July 6, 2012

Source: yourhustonnews.com

As our nation grapples with important issues involving a weak economy and out of control spending, there is one troubling concern that hits closer to home: the growing number of child abductions by non-custodial parents. These kidnappings are devastating and occur too frequently, but they can be solved with help from the public.

Bianca Lozano, a girl who has not seen her own mother in sixteen years, turns 18 years old on August 19th. Bianca was kidnapped during a weekend visit by her non-custodial father, Juan Antonio Lozano, when she was only 18 months old. Evidence indicates that Juan Antonio Lozano originally fled to Mexico after taking Bianca from her mother.

Her mother, Deana Herbert, has spent the last 16 years searching for a single clue about the safety and well-being of Bianca. She continues to work with federal, state and local law enforcement, Harris County officials, the State Department, the Texas Attorney General’s office, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the FBI and Crime Stoppers in Houston to locate her daughter.

This tragedy was brought to my attention shortly after I took office. We have consistently worked to encourage community awareness and to keep pressure on law enforcement to be diligent in solving this case. The communities both in the US and Mexico can help law enforcement with tips or any information they may have concerning Bianca’s whereabouts.

I urge the public to be aware of this tragedy and to aid in our efforts to find Bianca and other children like her. I am counting on the good nature of all Americans to think carefully if you have seen this girl or her father and to let authorities or my office know if you have any information about Bianca’s whereabouts.

Last year, at least 1,500 children were unlawfully taken to foreign countries by a parent who had been living in the United States. Only 578 of those children were returned home.Roughly one third of the abducted children ended up in Mexico because of the parent’s ties to extended family or because of Mexico’s proximity. Unfortunately, international parental abductions are growing rapidly, which makes finding these kidnapped children all the more difficult.

Five minutes is too long for a mother to go without knowing the whereabouts of her child. Sixteen years is unbearable. I implore the good people of Texas and Mexico to come forward with any information.

As the father of two wonderful children, I can only imagine the heartbreak Deana has felt over the past 16 years, missing her daughter’s milestone moments. We have tried to work with the State Department on this matter but time is running out. Due to the International agreement of the Hague Act and Bianca’s 18th birthday, the State Department is very limited in what they can do moving forward to help this family. That is why I am asking for the public’s help to look carefully and help connect this girl with her mother.

Bianca, now 18, has a light-brown, semi-oval-shaped birthmark on her right shoulder blade. At the time of her disappearance she had pierced ears. If anyone has any information about her location, please contact the FBI or local law enforcement. Bianca Lozano deserves to know that she has a mother in Texas who loves her very much and wants to know she is safe.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271

The Financial Cost of Parental Child Abduction


June 9, 2012

Source: Bring Sean Home Foundation, by: Timothy Weinstein

Parental abduction of a child, by itself, is a traumatic event for the left-behind parent. Brazil alone has over 50 cases of abduction from the United States representing over 70 children, my own two included. In addition to the emotional costs the left-behind parent must endure, one must understand the financial costs.

Due to my personal experiences, this article will focus on Brazil.

Consider the case of David Goldman; in the 4 ½ years since his son, Sean, was abducted, he has spent over $360,000 in legal and travel expenses. He is not alone and according to a December 27, 2008 article published in the Financial Post, “[Francois Larivee] has burned through $150,000, and still there is no end in sight.”

Add to this list, Marty Pate who to date has spent over $135,000, Klaus Zensen who has spent $65,000, Alessandra Oliveira is at $30,000 and counting – and the list goes on and on. Yet not one of these parents has their child back home.

From this, it appears rather obvious that the only people winning are the attorneys.

At least one parent, Gary Reilly, whose twin sons were abducted to Brazil in April, 2004, never petitioned for the return of his children due to the perceived cost of litigation. As told in a thread on BringSeanHome.org, when he consulted an attorney, “He also told me that if I went to court, be prepared to pay a minimum of at least $100,000, before anything was decided.” A different attorney in Brazil, when asked what it would cost to present in court a Hague Convention case, quoted $30,000 plus another $20,000 if the case was won. When asked if the definition of winning meant that the child was returned, the answer was “No”. Winning simply meant that the first judge ordered the return of the child, not mentioning the likely rounds of appeals.

How tragic it is that a lack of money rather than a lack of love could keep a parent from their child.

There are however, certain legal strategies one could use to help alleviate the costs of expensive litigation related to a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. One such strategy is to sue the abducting parent (and any accomplices) in the United States courts. If you’re lucky enough, they may have assets you can retrieve. Related to this strategy, David Goldman reached a settlement with his child’s grandparents for $150,000 – a lot of money until one considers that he has spent over twice that so far in litigation. Another father, Marty Pate, was awarded $65,000 in U.S. courts, an amount unfortunately, he’ll likely never see. In an unprecedented 2008 ruling in Maryland, Michael Shannon (Shannon-vs-Khalifa), whose two sons were abducted to Egypt was awarded a massive $3 million jury award – upheld on appeal. Yet the sting in the tail is that there are no U.S. assets to make the judgment work; the children are gone and remain overseas with no contact with their father.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

According to Article 26 of the Hague Convention,

“Central Authorities and other public services of Contracting States [think country] shall not impose any charges in relation to applications submitted under this Convention. In particular, they may not require any payment from the applicant towards the costs and expenses of the proceedings or, where applicable, those arising from the participation of legal counsel or advisers.”

Although it allows a Contracting State to make a reservation when it accedes to the Convention, thus removing itself from this obligation, Brazil has not.

Article 26 continues by stating,

“Upon ordering the return of a child or issuing an order concerning rights of access under this Convention, the judicial or administrative authorities may, where appropriate, direct the person who removed or retained the child, or who prevented the exercise of rights of access, to pay necessary expenses incurred by or on behalf of the applicant, including travel expenses, any costs incurred or payments made for locating the child, the costs of legal representation of the applicant, and those of returning the child.”

What does all of this mean?

First, a left-behind parent may request an attorney from the AGU [think attorney general] in Brazil. In this instance, the Brazilian government itself becomes the plaintiff and assumes the legal fees. I, along with others, have used this arrangement, leaving precious financial resources available for travel and other expenses rather than legal fees. Please read Tough Decisions for a Left-Behind Parent for a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages in this arrangement.

Second, it allows the left-behind parent to sue in Brazil for all costs they incurred in the fight to have their child returned to his or her habitual residence. This however is predicated on the Brazilian court system first ordering the return of an abducted child to the United States, something the courts have, so far, loathed to do.

Where does this leave us?

Back to the first sentence of this article. While international child abduction is an inexcusable tragedy with a huge emotional bill, averting the financial cost is possible. However, it is highly problematic and there is still no help with a large part of the overall costs which are not legal related – travel, accommodation and simple living expenses – and this assumes you know where your child is to start the process in the first instance.

June, 2012 updates

David Goldman: In December 2009, Sean Goldman was returned to his father. As of the date of this update, litigation continues in both the United States and Brazil and Mr. Goldman has incurred more than $750,000 in legal and travel expenses.

Marty Pate: Having run out of money to pay his attorney, Mr. Pate was unable to file a timely appeal in Brazil. He subsequently filed for bankruptcy in the United States. Mr. Pate then filed a new petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction through the Brazilian Central Authority seeking access rather than return of his daughter, Nicole. With the assistance of the AGU, Mr. Pate successfully negotiated visitation with his daughter. In November 2011, Nicole visited the United States for the first time in more than 5 years.

Francois Larivee: Just prior to the date his case was scheduled to be presented to the Brazilian Supreme Court, Mr. Larivee and his ex-wife were provided an opportunity to attend a “conciliation hearing” to determine if they could reach a mediated agreement. During the conciliation hearing, the child’s mother agreed to return to Canada in return for Mr. Larivee’s ceding custody of the child to her and provisions for extensive financial support. In March 2011, mother and child returned to Canada and Mr. Larivee, through regular visitation, has been permitted to participate in the rearing of his child.

Klaus Zensen: In October 2010, Mr. Zensen reached an agreement with his child’s mother. Although habitual residence would remain in Brazil, his daughter would be permitted to visit him in the United States. However, the child’s mother has yet to obtain a Brazilian passport for the child and the United States has refused to issue to Mr. Zensen a passport for the child without the physical presence of both mother and child. In addition, the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues has indicated that they are unable to assist Mr. Zensen in obtaining a new passport for his abducted daughter. While Mr. Zensen continues to search for a solution to this matter, he and his daughter participate in regular Skype visitations.

Alessandra Oliveira: In May 2011, Ms. Oliveira’s first daughter was returned to the United States. Her second daughter followed in August 2011. Prior to this, the Brazilian courts had removed the children from their father and placed them in the care of Ms. Oliveira’s brother. Despite this, she still needed to fight in court for another two years for their eventual return.

Read more at Bring Sean Home Foundation

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271

Norway court gives custody of two Indian children to their uncle


Source: NDTV

Stavanger, Norway:  The nightmare for an Indian couple ended after a Norwegian court ruled that their two young children will be handed over to the children’s uncle. The children, with their uncle, are expected to be back in India in a few hours from now. 

The children’s mother and their grandparents, both paternal and maternal, are already in India. Their father, however, is still in Norway.

Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya have fought a long legal battle with Norwegian authorities to get their three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter back to the family. During the hearing in the case involving two Indian children, which was held in Stavanger District Court on April 17, the Child Welfare Services (CWS) and the children’s parents and the uncle,  Arunabhas Bhattacharya, submitted a joint statement to the court stating that they agreed to the solution that the children’s uncle would be their guardian. The CWS, which has kept the children in foster care since May last year, made a recommendation to the Stavanger district court that the children’s custody should be given to the uncle and they should be allowed to return to India.

“I am very relieved today,” said Anurup Bhattacharya after the verdict was announced. “I am glad the year-long nightmare is finally over… Hope the children are back soon. I congratulate the Indian government for the excellent work and I hope others in distress also get relief,” said CPM leader Brinda Karat, who had extensively campaigned for the release of the children.

Trouble began when the Bhattacharyas noticed their son had been showing symptoms similar to autism. The workers of the kindergarten where the three-year-old used to go reported his condition to the CWS which began observing the family closely ostensibly to offer help even inside the privacy of their homes. The parent’s interactions with the children were recorded on camera and were analysed. The CWS later concluded that the boy was suffering from attachment disorder which they said was a result of a disconnect between the mother and child; they also said the child had witness violence between the parents.

The CWS workers started then interfering over how their children should be fed or where and with whom they should sleep. They asked the father to take leave from work to help build the relationship.

On May 11, 2011, when three CWS workers came to the Bhattacharya home, an argument broke out with the mother. One of the workers said the little girl should be taken outdoors as the atmosphere at home was too tense, but a little later the parents were told on the phone that their daughter had been in emergency foster care. On the same day, their son who was away at the kindergarten was also taken away directly to an undisclosed location. He too had been put in emergency foster care. A court battle followed but the children have not been returned to the family’s care since.

In November 2011, a family court in Stavanger declared that the children will stay in foster care till they turned 18. The CWS refused to give the custody of the children to any family member. Sagarika’s parents then started a campaign back in India and sought the help of the Foreign Ministry which intervened and got the case reopened.

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One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271