International Parental Child Abduction – Canada Fighting to Get Kidnapped Kids Back from Poland


Source: Youtube

CHARLES ADLER (Sun News Media) Interview with Stephen Watkins – International Parental Child Abduction – The non-custodial mother of Stephen Watkins’ children kidnapped the two boys from Canada and fled to Poland without custody. He’s now fighting to get them back from Poland. The Polish Courts have refused to return the Canadian Children back to Canada using a loop hole of the Hague Convention Treaty.

After being Missing and searching for two and a half years, the two little boys were located in Warsaw, Poland as a result of a Polish School taking the abducting mother, Edyta Ustaszewska (Watkins) to Court to limit her parental rights due to child protection concerns and sending a court summons to the father to appear in Polish court but delayed telling the father by 11-months.

The Polish Court taking this action had NO idea that another Polish Court Ordered Polish Police to search Poland-wide in January 2010 for these Missing / Abducted children known through social media as the “Watkins Missing Children” and that the two boys were already flagged by the Polish Police, the recognized Polish National Missing Children organization “ITAKA”, Europe’s INTERPOL and the Canadian National Police (RCMP) as internationally abducted children.

The RCMP as issued a Canada-wide alert for Edyta Watkins (Ustaszewka) and her profile appears on the RCMP’s Canada’s Most Wanted online. Canada has also issued a world-wide INTERPOL “Red Notice” for her apprehension and “Yellow Notices” for the abducted boys.

In December 2011, the Polish Hague Convention court denied returning the Canadian boys back to Canada. Stephen Watkins appealed this case and on May 29, 2012 another Polish Court dismissed the appeal and denied the return of two Missing / Abducted Canadian children back to Canada from Poland.

Even the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper and the Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk were asked a questions by the media on this high profile International Child Abduction case while both in Ottawa.
(See the RAW VIDEO of the two Prime Ministers Quotes on the Main YouTube Channel)

The father had already been granted sole custody of Alexander and Christopher Watkins, in January 2009 by the Canadian Courts prior to their kidnapping due to child protection concerns reported by a Canadian School as they realized that Edyta Ustaszewska (Watkins) was physically and mentally abusing the boys while in her care. The boys were apprehended by the Canadian Courts and by the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and taken away from the mother and the two boys had already been living with the father since 2007.

The two Canadian boys which were 4 years and 7 years old when abducted from Canada in March 2009 by their non-custodial mother, Edyta Ustaszewska ( Watkins ), using a Canceled Canadian Passport and the children’s Canadian Passports which were repeatedly Ordered by the Ontario Courts to be handed over in what Canada’s National Police ( RCMP ) stated in 2010 as one of Canada’s worst International Child Abduction from Canada.

The father of the abducting mother has been arrested and charged for assisting in the abduction which is still before the criminal courts in Ontario, Canada.

The father plans to appeal this case in the European Union Courts.

FIGHTING TO GET KIDNAPPED KIDS BACK
SUN NEWS NETWORK with CHARLES ADLER: Parental Kidnapping
Reported by CHARLES ADLER on June 4, 2012 21:11
“Watkins Missing Children” – International Child Abduction case

YouTube VIDEO LINK:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThiO3PVO_fM

ORIGINAL VIDEO LINK:
http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/search/stephen%20watkins/fighting-to-get-k…

Follow the “Watkins Missing Children” case and more info can be found here:
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/Watkins.Missing.Children
WEBSITE: http://www.Watkins-Missing-Children.com
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Child_Abduction

Thank you for SHARING this news interview so more people are aware of the injustice the Polish Courts are continuing to pursue which are breaking not only multiple treaties between Canada and Poland but also infringing on the Human Rights and the Rights of the Child as outlined in the UNITED NATIONS rights of the Child (CRC) which both Canada and Poland are signatories.

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Child abduction issue should be key concern in Japan-U.S. relations


Source: Japan Today

TOKYO —

The issue of international child abductions in Japan should be a key concern in bilateral relations between Japan and the United States.

For years, the international community has been pressuring Japan to abide by international human rights standards in preventing cross-border parental kidnapping.

Japan has been censured for not being a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which protects children from wrongful removal or retention from their habitual place of residence.

Though former Prime Minister Naota Kan announced on May 20 last year that Japan intends to sign The Hague Convention, Japan is the only G8 member that has yet to become a signatory. LBPs (Left Behind Parents) are cautious to find the signing as reason to cheer because changes are also needed in Japan’s family courts for them to be reunited with their children. The continued condoning of both domestic and international child abduction cases can be traced to Japan’s family court.

Japan’s family court often awards sole custody to the parent with whom the child is residing. If the other parent wishes to see their child, permission by the parent to whom custodial rights were awarded becomes necessary.

This means that the parent who takes away the child from the other parent first will be in a superior bargaining position, since the family court overwhelmingly recognizes the status quo of whom the child is residing with.

Many LBPs have criticized the Japanese judicial system for condoning abduction by granting sole custody rights to the parent who snatches the child away first. In situations where cross-border kidnappings take place, the foreign parent is effectively powerless, as the Japanese family court will rule in favor of the parent with whom the child is residing. This has led some bereaved foreign LBPs to refer to Japan as a “black hole for child abduction.”

First, the Japanese government’s stance to become a signatory of The Hague Convention is an indication of changes in favor of adopting international human rights standards.

The move comes at a time when the numbers of international marriages and divorces are increasing in Japan. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, approximately 19,000 international marriages ended in divorce last year in Japan, comprising 7.5% of the total number of divorces in Japan. In 2010, the ratio to divorces to all marriages in Japan was approximately 36%. Children of divorce are at significant risk of losing access to one parent in the current family law system.

Things are finally starting to change at both the international and domestic levels. There are two model cases, one in Wisconsin and one in Matsudo, Chiba.

Japan has stuck to awarding sole custody to one parent following a divorce since the Meiji era. Though some have mentioned this as evidence of sole custody being a part of Japan’s culture, in reality, this system has also created a legal system that condones child abductions.

In addition, on Dec 23, 2011, a girl was returned to her father in Wisconsin after being abducted by her Japanese mother nearly 4 years earlier, the first return of an abducted child from Japan by means of the courts.

She was reunited with her father when her mother, who had been arrested in April 2011 in Hawaii on child abduction charges, agreed to a plea bargain to be released from jail in exchange for returning their daughter to the United States.

The case, which received wide coverage in international and Japanese media, marked the first time for Japanese media such as NHK and Asahi to use the term “tsuresari” (abduction) rather than “tsurekaeru” (to bring home).

Of course, a plea bargain is still not the equivalent of a change in stance in Japan’s family court, but changes are also gradually being implemented in the domestic sphere as well.

Many people following the child abduction issue are closely monitoring the development of a high-profile domestic abduction case in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, to see if a judicial precedent making child abductions an unlawful act will be made.

On April 26, 2011, former Justice Minister Satsuki Eda mentioned three criteria that need to be considered in determining the custody of children after divorce, as stated in article 766, in his remarks to the Committee on Judicial Affairs.

The three criteria are: the abduction of children should be eligible for consideration as child abuse; the issuance of custody rights should favor parents who are willing to allow the other parent visitation of their children (also known as the “friendly parent rule”); and parents who commit unlawful abductions of their child should be at a disadvantage in the issuance of custody rights.

At the domestic level, article 766 of Japan’s civil code, which stipulates legal guidelines for the custody of children after divorce, was revised on June 3, 2011, to include a provision which states that visitation and economic support must be deliberated between the two spouses before divorce papers are submitted.

As stated in the “friendly parent rule,” one of the three criteria underlined by Eda, not allowing visitation, ought to work unfavorably toward obtaining custody rights. In cases where the child has already been abducted, the LBP may offer the abducting parent visitation in fighting to recover their child in court.

In effect, the revision of article 766 is significant, as the abduction of a child by a parent will be in breach of the new provision. This measure, if properly enforced by Japan’s family court, will help prevent the abduction of children by a parent.

However, when asked to recognize the remarks made by Eda, Tatsushige Wakabayashi, the judge presiding over the case, reportedly remarked, “What the justice minister says at the Diet is irrelevant.”

In response, various LBP groups have called for Wakabayashi to step down. Wakabayashi has yet to make a final verdict, leaving both domestic LBP groups and the international community tense anticipating his decision.

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Mexico / U.S – Cross-Border Child Custody, a Legal Tangle


Source: IPS News

MEXICO CITY, Jan 14, 2012 (IPS) – Mexican or foreign-born children being held by one of their parents in this or another country are caught up in a legal tangle marred by red tape and the arbitrary powers of judges, according to experts.

The claim for restitution of an under-age child taken to another country, or to Mexico, is based on the Inter-American Convention on International Restitution of Minors (IACIRM), ratified by Mexico in 1994, and the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which came into force in 1983.

“Lawmakers are not necessarily familiar with the provisions of the conventions. Most judges do not use them as references in their decisions. And the red tape, when a child is abducted from or brought to Mexico, is a real ordeal for the families,” Martín Pérez, head of the Network for Children’s Rights in Mexico (REDIM), told IPS.

Moreover, the families “have to undertake the search for their children using their own resources,” added Pérez, the executive director of REDIM, a coalition of 63 NGOs that carries out programmes for vulnerable children and adolescents.

In 2008, there were 272 petitions for the return of children to custody, compared to 123 in 2003, according to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. These figures do not include petitions brought under the IACIRM.

And there were 168 demands for restitution under the IACIRM in 2008, an increase of 522 percent compared with 2003.

Fifteen Latin American and Caribbean nations reported 315 petitions for the return of minors in 2008, equivalent to 16 percent of the world total. In 61 of these cases, both countries involved were within the region.

In 2010, there were 221 such cases in Mexico; 101 of them involved the abduction from this country to others of 141 children or adolescents; and the remaining 120 cases involved 169 irregular transfers of minors from other countries to Mexico, according to the foreign ministry, which is the designated central authority in Mexico tasked with fulfilling the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention.

Mexico’s free trade treaties, like the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and the United States and the 2000 Global Agreement with the European Union, brought transnational companies flocking to Mexico, creating opportunities for marriage between Mexican citizens and foreigners as well as increasing the presence of couples from other countries.

“We don’t have national legislation for detecting, warning and following up on these kinds of cases. There is no comprehensive system for the protection of children, paying paramount attention to the best interests of the child, nor of measures to benefit mothers and children,” Nashieli Ramírez, general coordinator of Ririki Intervención Social, an NGO active on behalf of the rights of children, told IPS.

The aim of the Inter-American and the Hague conventions is for minors to be returned to their country of origin when they have been illegally taken away or kept in another, and for a parent’s custody rights, granted by any state, to be respected and monitored.

In 2008 there were 36 cases in Mexico in which children were voluntarily returned, nine of which involved a court decision based on an agreement between the parents and 22 on decisions without an agreement, while in another 34 cases restitution was legally denied because the child did not reside in the petitioning country, or the petitioner did not have custody rights.

Forty-nine percent of the persons who brought the legal complaints were fathers, and 47 percent mothers. In 2008, 270 children were involved in the lawsuits, 51 percent of whom were girls and 49 percent boys. This contrasted with 2003, when the gender balance was markedly skewed, with 64 percent of the children being girls.

Final decisions on the proceedings can take months, comparable to the global average. Voluntary repatriations took an average of 232 days, compared to the world average of 121 days, while restitution by court order took 206 days, and judicial denials 290 days, on average.

Time is regarded as a key factor by the experts, especially in cases where the mother has been a victim of domestic violence and the child is at risk.

In its 2011 response to the questionnaire on fulfilment of the Hague Abduction Convention, Mexico’s foreign ministry acknowledged that while some judges were experts on international abduction of minors, the majority were experts in family law.

It also indicated that legal advice was provided at the start of proceedings, but the parties involved had to find their own legal representation, at their own cost.

“The children’s views are not consistently taken into account, and the legal rights of the plaintiff are not safeguarded. Therefore, legislative harmonisation, training of judges and lawmakers and clear procedures are required,” REDIM’s Pérez recommended. A new feature observed by experts is “parental alienation”, involving brainwashing of the abducted minor by the abducting parent against the other, which inflicts emotional damage on the child.

The foreign ministry also admitted that it does not use the Hague Convention’s iChild system.

iChild is an electronic case management tool that is used to identify, save and share information and monitor cases of child abduction.

“What predominates in Mexico is a view of children as part of the private domain, and not the public domain. So the issue needs to be on the public agenda and in the state budget,” said Ramírez, of Ririki Intervención Social.

In October 2011, a constitutional reform established that the best interest of the child was to be the guiding principle in all the decisions and actions of the state.

But the problem of parental abductions of minors does not appear in campaigns on behalf of children organised by NGOs, nor is it mentioned among the recommendations made to the Mexican state by the internationally elected Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child, as part of its task of monitoring implementation of the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Breaking News: Children in the European Union gain additional protection against international abduction


BRUSSELS, December 23, 2011 – Wednesday, the European Commission proposed the EU accept Russia and seven more countries as parties to an international convention designed to prevent child abduction. The 1980 Hague Convention ensures the prompt return of children abducted by one parent to their habitual country of residence and protects parental access rights.

International abduction by a parent is a global problem affecting several thousand children each year. Wednesday’s move will effectively extend protection for children in the EU to eight new countries: Russia, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Gabon, Morocco, Seychelles and Singapore. The Convention has been ratified by 86 countries to date, including all EU members.

“Preventing child abduction is an essential part of the EU’s agenda for children’s rights,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner. “We already have strict rules in place to ensure abducted children can be returned and disputes swiftly solved within the EU. By welcoming Russia and others as EU counterparts under this international agreement, we can make sure children are similarly protected at a global level as well.”

If one parent in an abduction case comes from outside the EU, the Hague Convention only applies if that parent’s country of origin is a member of the Convention. All EU Member States are party to the Convention and the European Commission actively promotes membership of the Convention at an international level so that children in the EU can be better protected worldwide.

This multilateral treaty does not seek to adjudicate in custody cases, but provides for a procedure whereby an abducted child can be returned promptly to his or her home country. Once sent back, the child’s local authorities can determine where and with whom the child should live. The Convention is also designed to secure protection for rights of access.

If a parent abducts a child within the EU, the so-called Brussels IIa Regulation (Council Regulation 2201/2003) imposes strict obligations to ensure the return of the child. Under the Regulation, the courts in the EU Member State to which the child has been abducted cannot refuse an order to return a child to the Member State of origin.

Data recently collected shows that the Regulation works well: in general, child abduction disputes between EU Member States are solved in a much more efficient and swift manner, thanks notably to the removal of the cumbersome ‘exequatur’ procedure. This means a shorter period for courts to recognise and enforce judgements from another Member State.

Article 38(4) of the 1980 Convention stipulates that the Convention applies between the acceding country and Contracting States that declare their acceptance of the accession. Therefore, the European Union has to decide whether to accept the accession of Russia and other countries.

As the matter of international child abduction falls into the exclusive external competence of the European Union, the decision whether the EU, via its Member States, should accept other countries’ accession to the 1980 Convention has to be taken by means of a Council Decision.

In February 2011, the Commission presented an EU agenda for reinforcing the rights of the child by putting the principles of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into practice. It includes a series of concrete actions where the EU can provide added value to policies for children’s well-being and safety, including promoting child-friendly justice, better informing children about their rights, and making the internet safer for kids.

For more information: International Parental Child Abduction: The Hague convention – Proved Useless

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Christmas A Time of Parental Child Abduction Risk


Source: SOS Children’s Villages Canada

A European Union official has commented on the region’s work on international parental child abduction at the same time that security actors have warned parents to be vigilant about protecting their children over the holidays.

International child abduction is on an upward trend and the Christmas season is one of the higher-risk periods for parental abduction—particularly when it comes to multi-cultural relationships.

Yesterday, the European Union (EU) Commission Vice-President (Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship), Viviane Reding, made a statement on the issue in Strasbourg.

“Preventing child abduction is an essential part of the EU’s policy to promote the rights of the child. I welcome the initiative of the European Parliament Mediator for international parental child abduction,” she said.

Within the EU, the International Law Association (ILA) Regulation mandates courts within EU member states to not refuse an order to return a child to his or her state of origin, if within the EU.

While the laws do not prevent or solve all cases of international parental child abduction, disputes between EU member states are solved more efficiently and swiftly, Ms. Reding noted.

Among the improvements made to the legal system is the removal of the exequatur rule.  This has allowed for a shorter time period in which courts may recognize and enforce judgments made by another state.

In international cases related to child custody and parental abduction, the Hague Convention applies. All EU member states are state parties to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and more countries are gradually signing on.

The Convention aims to protect children from the harmful impacts of abduction and retention by providing a protocol for international cooperation for their return to their country of origin.

According to a press release circulated by PR Web, the ABP World Group (which is an international leader in security matters related to child and adult abduction recovery) is warning parents worried that the other parent may illegally leave the country with their child to use new technology, such as GPS tracking devices, to protect their children.

Martin Waage, Managing Director of ABP World Group, stated, “With international child abductions happening at a record pace, ABP World Group urges parents to take every precaution to protect their children from this horrible fate.”

“Tragically, the number of global parental abductions occurring is an unknown due to failures by governments to keep accurate data,” he added.

However, using the situation in the United States as “microcosm” for the rest of the world, there could be as many as 125,000 children illegally abducted between now and 2020. In Canada, these numbers alone could reach 12,000-15,000, based on current reported cases with a modest 20 per cent growth factor, said Mr. Waage.

While Canada is also a signatory to the Hague Convention, though many countries in the Middle East and Asia are not.

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Fathers lose bid for equal custody rights after review of family law


Source: Mail Online By Tim Shipman

David Norgrove's Family Justice Review has rejected calls to give fathers equal rights to share custody of their childrenDavid Norgrove’s Family Justice Review has rejected calls to give fathers equal rights to share custody of their children

Fathers’ hopes of securing equal rights over their children will be dashed tomorrow when a review of family law is published.

Plans to give parents equal rights to share custody of their children in the event of a split have been rejected by the Family Justice Review, led by former civil servant and businessman David Norgrove.

In a further blow to fathers’ rights campaigners, the Norgrove Report will also reject calls to enshrine in law the principle that children should have a ‘meaningful relationship’ with both their mother and father.

Instead, it will simply say the courts should keep the idea of a meaningful relationship with an absentee father in mind when they make decisions about a child’s future.

The report was rejected as a ‘slap in the face for fathers’ last night and will undermine David Cameron’s claims that he would speak up for a strong family life.

Sources familiar with the report said Mr Norgrove had rejected statutory protection for men because it was likely to lead to lengthy legal battles to define a meaningful relationship.

In his interim report earlier this year, Mr Norgrove concluded the state of the family courts was ‘shocking’ and that disputes take ‘far too long’ to resolve.

He also rejected plans for parents to share custody 50-50 after seeing  evidence that the system does not work in countries where it has operated such as Australia.

Mr Norgrove rejected calls to give the principle that children should have a 'meaningful relationship' with both parents a legal basis. (Posed by models)Mr Norgrove rejected calls to give the principle that children should have a ‘meaningful relationship’ with both parents a legal basis. (Posed by models)

A senior government source said: ‘The panel found that shared custody on an equal footing led to lengthy delays in the courts which are not in the interests of the child.

‘They have also rejected the halfway house of statutory recognition for the need to maintain a meaningful relationship on the basis that the courts would spend ages deciding how to define a meaningful relationship.’

Nadine O’Connor, campaign co-ordinator for Fathers 4 Justice, said: ‘This whole exercise has been designed to appease women’s groups, not fathers.

‘The Tories promised a fundamental review of family law and said that  Norgrove was not good enough. But they’ve made a complete U-turn.’

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You Kidnap My Child, And I Get In Trouble?


Divorce

That word hurts.

In the ideal world, a child doesn’t know that word. In today’s world (arguably the exact opposite of ideal), a child not only knows that word but knows many friends with divorced parents, including his own. Actually, my friends and I get excited when we hear about someone’s parents still together. You can literally hear us exclaiming something like, “WOW. How did that happen??” Parents staying together “in good times and in bad” and “in sickness and in health” is a rarity.
According to the enrichment journal on the current divorce rate in America, first marriages fail 50 percent of the time; second marriages fail 60 percent; and third marriages fail 73 percent. Only ten years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Census reported a 40 percent failure of first marriages.
If being apart is more common than staying together, child custody battles are bound to be everywhere.
As a teacher, I’ve seen more than several cases. I would hope for a situation where both parents would walk into a conference and things would go smoothly, as both want the best for their child. And in some circumstances, this would be the case. Excellent. A smooth meeting.
And then the other scene would take place: Mom accuses Dad of hiding things; Dad accuses Mom of lying to the child. If anything went awry, fingers were pointed. My heart always went to the sweet child caught in the middle.
Sorrowfully, this may be the least of child custody complications.
Parental kidnapping occurs more often than reported. According to Lost Children, more than 350,000 family abductions occur in the U.S. each year – that is nearly 1,000 per day!
Recently, an American dad was in the news. Why? His ex-wife took their two children to her home country, Japan. Not on a visit to see family. She fled the United States with the kids.
Need some history on this couple? Here’s the breakdown: Christopher and Noriko were married for 14 years. They lived in Japan for a while but moved back to the United States before the divorce. She agreed during the divorce to remain in the United States. She didn’t. The courts then gave sole custody to Christopher.
What’s a father to do? Forget about it, not deal with it, and never see his children again? Let the mother do whatever she wants? Let her get away with kidnap?
No. He went to be a father. He went to make things right. Easy enough, yeah? No. Japan still recognizes the mother as the sole custodian.
Christopher abducted the children as they were on their way to school.
Pause. I am NOT saying it’s okay to kidnap children – even your own. Children are traumatized enough as it is. However…(nah, I’ll wait for that. Back to our story.)
Christopher ended up getting caught, seconds away from the front gate of the U.S. consulate’s office. Ouch. He’s currently in jail for child abduction in Japan.
Now, where was I? Yes. However…
Shouldn’t certain things be understood between nations, like custody, for example? Different nations have different rules. I understand that some things are different…steal an apple here? Not a big problem. Steal an apple somewhere else? Could be a big problem. But children’s rights? Kidnap? I’m thinking that should be a lot closer to universal. Why isn’t it? Last time I checked, children are humans….and they have rights. So, this case could be argued as a human rights case.
And if divorce rates are rising, shouldn’t our concern for parental kidnapping rise as well?
Source: NeonTommy

Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Service

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