Texas: Expert says parental child abductions are on the rise


September 27, 2012

Source: University of Houston

Attorney Pamela Brown discusses pursuing justice across international borders

 

Pamela Brown, director of the Bi-National Family Violence Project at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, told law students that international parental kidnapping cases have become more common in recent years during a noon-hour gathering today at the University of Houston Law Center. Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid is a non-profit organization that provides free legal advice and representation to low-income residents in southwest Texas.

“Abduction rates are increasing in part due to globalization,” Brown said during the talk hosted by the Immigration and Human Rights Law Society. “The relationships of families do not end at international borders. We do not have an exit control nor would we want one. We are an international society.”

Brown noted that international parental abduction has increase by 65 percent in the United States from 2005 to 2009.  In addition, nearly one third of the children in the United States abducted by a parent end up in Mexico.

“Hundreds of Texas children are abducted by a parent every year and taken to Mexico,” Brown said. “Most of the left-behind parents don’t know where to go for help and do not have access to legal help.”

According to Brown, there are two legal frameworks for handling such cases: Internal custody litigation and the Hague Abduction Convention. Under the Hague Abduction Convention, an international treaty concluded in 1980, parents can petition for the return of their children through the civil courts. Mexico and the United States have signed the treaty and each has a government office specifically to deal with these cases.

Brown handles roughly 12 international parental kidnapping cases a year and has helped recover more than 50 children since 2001. She also runs training programs for law enforcement, social workers and lawyers across the state to prepare them for handling such issues.

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Two abducted Fairfax kids believed to be in Tunisia


September 26, 2012

Source: Washington Examiner

Authorities are trying to recover two young Fairfax County children who were allegedly kidnapped by their father and taken to Tunisia.

Three-year-old Zainab Chebbi and 6-year-old Eslam Chebbi have been missing since Nov. 11, when prosecutors say their father, 39-year-old Faical Chebbi, flew with them to Tunisia.

Faical Chebbi called the children’s mother — his ex-wife — the next day and told her that he and the children would not be returning, according to court records. Chebbi was charged in federal court in Alexandria with international parental kidnapping.

Chebbi and Edeanna Johnson-Chebbi divorced in January, nearly a year after she obtained a protective order because he threatened to kill her, according to court documents. Johnson-Chebbi had sole custody of Zainab and Eslam; Chebbi absconded with the children after picking them up from their grandparents’ house in Prince George’s County for a scheduled visit, according to the court documents.

“At first, I was sort of in an action mode,” said Johnson-Chebbi, who created a Facebook page and online petitions about the case.

“What else are you going to do?” she told The Washington Examinerin December. “I won’t allow myself to imagine that this will pass. They will be home. I just don’t know how or when.”

But Johnson-Chebbi faces an uphill battle. There are no treaties or agreements between the United States and Tunisia regarding parental abduction cases.

This summer, Faical Chebbi was added to the FBI Washington Field Office’s Wanted Fugitives list.

Anyone with information on the case can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-THE-LOST (843-5678).

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Parental Abduction – Child Recovery Services


September 16, 2012

“After all my years of experience as Worldwide Medical Director for the worlds largest medical assistance company, I found only ABP World capable of providing the unique service of non-violent recovery of  an abducted child.
It is very difficult to find a company like ABP World that can provide the experience, honesty, integrity, and assets to actually recover an abducted child safely and at a reasonable cost. I hold ABP World in highest regard and recommend them whole heartedly. The world is simply a better place because of the work they do”. 

Tragically International Child Abduction has reached global epidemic proportions.  According to leading experts the increase in inter-racial marriages and relationships  will, in the future, lead to a significant rise in the number of children born to parents of different nationalities

As is true for all relationships, a statistically significant number of these marriages or partnerships will also end in divorce. All too often, following the breakup of a marriage, one of the parents will abduct a child of that relationship against the wishes of the other parent,  frequently removing them to a country where the child has probably never lived. This is called “International Parental Child Abduction”.  Although there are various civil remedies available to parents of abducted children, the challenges they face are enormous, including first and foremost, locating  the child.

Unfortunately for the majority of targeted parents, the financial burden involved in recovery and litigation falls upon their shoulders. With tens of thousands of children abducted by parents each year, the reality is that too many of these children never come home.  ABP World Group is dedicated to assisting those parents who need help in locating, rescuing, and returning  their abducted child home safely.

Our intelligence and investigative capabilities combined with our ability to dispatch personnel to most locations in the world offer a safe and strategic solution to protecting what is most important to you, your child.

Unfortunately in this present climate parental kidnapping occurs all too frequently and we are here to help you through this extremely traumatic period.

We are aware that parental child abduction can be difficult to resolve, but through the use of professional operatives with the skills and expertise necessary to find a resolution. We are here to help you with child recovery.

ABP World Group’s successful recovery and re-unification strategies rely on the use of all the means available  including, but not limited to:

. Electronic Forensic Foot printing Investigations

. Intelligence Gathering

. Information Specialists/Skip Tracing

. Evidence Procurement

. Interview/Evaluation

. Surveillance Special Ops

. Non-Combatant Evacuation Ops

. Domestic Support

. International Operations

. Maritime/Land/Air transport

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Man gets 60 days in child abduction case


September 11, 2012

Source: napavalleyregister

A 31-year-old man, arrested this summer at San Francisco International Airport as he allegedly tried to fly to the Middle East with his two young daughters in defiance of a court order, was sentenced Tuesday to two months in Napa County jail.

On July 12, authorities said, Alwawi was detained as he allegedly tried to board a plane with his two daughters to fly to Chicago and then to Amman, Jordan, in defiance of a child abduction prevention order, according to court documents.

His wife, from whom he was separated, had obtained the court order because she had become increasingly concerned that her husband wanted to leave the country with their two girls, according to court filings.

In September, Ahmad Alwawi pleaded no contest in Napa County Superior Court to two counts of child abduction.

A no contest plea, during which defendants neither admit nor dispute a charge, has the same immediate effect as a guilty plea in sentencing hearings.

On Thursday, prosecuting attorney Holly Quate said the 60-day sentence was “fair given the circumstances.”

Alwawi, an unemployed certified public accountant, had found new employment in Saudi Arabia, according to court filings. But he wanted his wife to leave behind her two older children from another relationship, court documents said.

Alwawi was separated from his wife in July, when he allegedly took his girls’ passports  his wife had hidden in an air conditioning vent, according to the probation report.

Alwawi, according to the report, expressed remorse for his actions and stated he has “lost everything.” His plan, Alwawi told the probation officer, was to show the three $8,500 plane tickets to his wife and return them for a refund, according to the court filing.

“The defendant said he then planned on returning home to show his wife that he had the ‘opportunity’ to leave and take their children, but he did not leave because ‘that’s how much I loved’ her. The defendant said he was ‘thinking with his heart and not his head,’” the probation officers wrote.

On Tuesday, Napa County Superior Court Judge Mark Boessenecker also sentenced Alwawi to serve 140 hours of community service and remain under probation for three years. Alwawi also has to obey a family court order, which includes staying away from his wife and two daughters, the judge ruled.

A family court judge on Sept. 30 ordered that Alwawi can only see the two girls three times a week for three hours under supervision.

Alwawi, a former Napa resident who now lives in Benicia, reports to jail on Dec. 1.

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Barn blir bortført fra Norge: Norske barnebortførere i Spania


September 3, 2012

Kilde: Bortført.no

Vi ser en økende trend der norske foreldre bortfører barn til Spania. Hensikten er som regel å sabotere samvær. Bortførerne livnærer seg som oftest på trygd, samt underholdningsbidrag dersom de er kvinner.

Spania er medlem i Haag-samarbeidet for retur av bortførte barn, men rettsprosessene er treige. Derfor benytter mange seg av av private operatørers hjelp for å få barna hurtig tilbake til omsorgsforeldrene i Norge. Geirs sønn ble bortført til Spania….. ( Kommer på TV2`s Dokument2 Onsdag 5 September klokken 21.40)

Geir gikk gjennom en konfliktfull barnefordelingssak, som endte med at han fikk daglig omsorg for sin 10 år gamle sønn. Moren har tatt i bruk alle slags skitne triks for å sverte faren, med påstander om vold, overgrep og drapstrusler. Men politietterforskning og rettsbehandling avdekket at morens påstander ikke hadde noen forankring i virkeligheten.

Etter å ha tapt i retten, satte moren i gang en kampanje på nettsiden ”Olivers Verden” hvor hun hevder at hun og sønnen er sviktet av systemet, og at sønnen ikke har blitt hørt av retten. Dette på tross av at det er grundig dokumentert at gutten ønsker å bo hos sin far. Som “bevis” la hun frem timevis med selvproduserte videoavhør, hvor sønnen forklarte detaljert om de angivelige overgrepene.

I dommeravhør, og i samtaler med rettsoppnevnte psykologer, fortalte gutten imidlertid at moren hadde instruert ham til å fortelle alle disse løgnene om faren. Les Geirs historie her.

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25 years later, investigators continue to search for brothers abducted by their father


ROCHESTER, N.H. — As private investigator Monty Curtis sat at an outdoor cafe in downtown Portsmouth on Wednesday, he was only a few communities away from the place where two small children were abducted by their father 25 years ago.

Read the FBI Wanted poster here

It was an abduction that sparked a nationwide search and investigation that Curtis and others have followed for 25 years.

The case began on Oct. 9, 1986, when Charles Martin Vosseler, 44 at the time, told his wife, Ruth Parker, with whom he was separated, that he was taking their two young sons, Charles Jason (C.J.) Vosseler, then 4, and William Vosseler, then 2, to visit family. The trio never returned.

While there have been sightings of Vosseler since, his whereabouts are still unknown. Vosseler is wanted by the FBI for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and for parental kidnapping.

And while the case may be decades old, there are still several agencies and organizations investigating it today.

Curtis has been involved in the case twice throughout its 25 years, beginning in 1988 and then again in 2006, after having drifted away from the case years before.

Now, he and several other investigators are continuing to search for the man who Curtis describes as “meticulous” and “narcissistic” — a man whom Curtis said he believes is likely living in plain sight.

When Charlie met Ruth

Ruth Parker met Charles Vosseler in 1981, when she answered a personal ad he placed in Mother Earth News. They began communicating through letters and by telephone, and a few months later met in person for the first time at Niagara Falls — his pick, Parker said.

Parker was living in Madison, Wis. at the time, but it was not long before she moved to Newton, N.H., where Vosseler was living at the time.

Parker said it was his openness and honesty that drew her to him initially.

“Given the circumstances, some might find that amusing,” she said Thursday from North Carolina, where she currently resides. “It turned out to be an illusion.”

Parker said Vosseler also seemed to embrace the notion of living a simple life and living with little government intrusion, something that she, too, was committed to.

Still, it was his desire to have children that was particularly attractive, Parker said.

“By that time I was in my 30s, and he was a proponent of having children, which was certainly a draw,” she said.

About a year after meeting, Vosseler and Parker were married, and began moving around the country buying foreclosed and distressed houses, fixing them up, and selling them for profit.

When the couple had their first child, C.J., about a year later, the family moved back to New Hampshire, where they stayed with Vosseler’s parents in East Kingston when they weren’t flipping houses.

Vosseler dabbled in real estate, in the stock market, holding yard sales and even horse racing, Parker said, before the family settled in Rochester and he opened his own real estate business in the city.

Parker described Vosseler as a typical family man, saying he was always kind to her and their sons.

“In the beginning he was around home a lot,” she said. “As a caregiver of the children, he was supportive of my efforts but he didn’t do the child care. He always told me that when the kids were 2 or older, he would help.”

And while Parker said she never would have thought her husband was capable of taking their children from her, Curtis said that in his talks with Vosseler’s ex-wives, he’s determined that he was likely planning on abducting any children that he had.

Curtis said that Vosseler’s first wife told him that when the couple separated, Vosseler told her they were lucky that they did not have children and that if they did, they wouldn’t be staying with her.

“She thinks she would have been a victim of the same circumstances,” Curtis said.
Because of this information, and other information collected as part of Curtis’ investigation into Vosseler, Curtis said he believes Parker was a victim from the start of their marriage.

“I think his ultimate goal was to find someone with a decent background and with a high intelligence who could bear his children,” Curtis said. “I think it was by design that he married Ruth for the simple reason of giving him children and that he was probably planning this all along.”

Parker, too, said that while she never thought of herself as a victim during their marriage, she realized on the day of the abduction that her husband had been planning the crime for a long time.

‘He took them because they’re his’

It was a Friday evening in October 1986 when Parker said she got a call from Vosseler saying he had taken the kids to visit some of this family and that he wanted to keep them there until Saturday. By this time, the couple had separated and were living in different homes, sharing custody of C.J. and William.

“I was unhappy about it because Saturday was my day off and I was looking forward to seeing my children,” Parker said.

Still, she relented and said she wanted the kids back by Saturday. On Saturday, however, Vosseler called again and said the kids were having fun and that they wanted to stay until Monday.

When Parker didn’t hear from Vosseler by Monday morning, she said she decided to go down to his realty business and give him a piece of her mind, assuming he would be back at work and that the kids were likely with a baby sitter.

When she arrived, however, the door was locked, and as she pounded on the door for someone to let her in, an employee of the company walked out with a box of office supplies and told her Vosseler had unexpectedly closed the company down Friday and told all employees that they no longer had a job.

“That’s the moment I knew for sure that something was wrong,” Parker said.

Parker then went to the family’s home, where Vosseler was still living, and found that all of her possessions were gone. Pictures of the boys and Charlie were also taken, Parker said. In fact, the missing posters later created used stills from a video taken by a neighbor due to the lack of photos of the children.

Parker discovered her name had been removed from their joint checking accounts and credit cards, and Vosseler had withdrawn thousands of dollars from accounts Parker didn’t even know existed.

Vosseler had even shut down Parker’s automatic payments from their checking account to her car loan, so that by the time of the abduction she was months behind on payments and her car was about to repossessed.

“I guess he thought if I was busy holding my own life together I couldn’t do much to find them,” Parker said. “He meticulously thought this out.”

Parker said she was panicked as she learned of the things her husband had done before leaving, realizing that he must have taken the kids without planning on bringing them back.

“Do I think he took them because he loves them? No,” she said. “He took them because they’re his, just like he took all of our other possessions; just like every nickel he ever made he knows where it went and he got the majority of it.”

Police and missing children organizations were involved in the abduction of the boys right away, but the initial investigations yielded no results.

“The reality of the times was that folks weren’t very sympathetic,” Parker said. “It took me five months and a New Hampshire state senator to get the FBI involved.”

By 1987, the FBI had a federal warrant out for Vosseler’s arrest.

And while the FBI, local investigators, private investigators and missing children organizations have been working to find Vosseler and the boys ever since, there has been no known contact with them by law enforcement.

The last 25 years

Despite this lack of contact with Vosseler since disappearing, there have been numerous sightings of the man, some more promising than others, Curtis said.

Curtis first became involved with the case in 1988, when his wife, who worked with Parker at the time, suggested he work on the investigation.

He spent much of the next few years speaking with Vosseler’s family and friends, sometimes traveling across the country to track down anyone who might know Vosseler’s whereabouts.

He also started conducting surveillance on members of his family, but said the interviews and surveillance were not successful.

A break in the case came in 1989, however, when Curtis said he got a call from an organization called Child Find, who received a tip that Vosseler was living in Stillwell, Okla. The organization said they got a tip from a woman claiming to be Vosseler’s girlfriend who had seen a missing poster of the children and Vosseler and was certain that her boyfriend was the man they were looking for.

The FBI was contacted, and agents went to the house nine days later — a delay that Curtis and Parker said they believe may have cost them finding the children.

When authorities arrived at Vosseler’s reported home in Stillwell, they found the house and car burned to the ground and no one in sight.

Curtis said investigators still don’t know how Vosseler was tipped off, but said that soon after the incident a note was found in a P.O. box rented to him that read, “The feds are coming.”

“This case has been riddled with weird things like that,” Curtis said. “How would he know that, unless he used eavesdropping or has connections?”

As the years went by, there were a number of other possible leads, Curtis said, but none of them proved to be Vosseler. The attention paid to the case, both by the FBI, local authorities, and Curtis himself also dwindled until very recently, Curtis said.

It was in 2006 when Curtis began thinking about the case again and Googled it to see if it had ever been resolved. After learning that Vosseler and the children, who would now be in their late 20s, were still missing, Curtis tracked down Parker and told her he wanted to start working on the case again.

“A lot more has happened because of [Curtis’] involvement,” Parker said. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s top drawer.”

Never stop looking

Around the same time Curtis became involved in the case again, Rochester police and the FBI were also increasing their attention to the case.

Rochester police Sgt. Anthony Deluca has been working with the FBI on the Vosseler case since about four years ago.

Deluca said Thursday it was a call from a missing children organization checking to see if C.J. and William Vosseler had ever been found that got him involved in the case.

After that call, Deluca said he began to look into the case, and ended up converting all of the files involved into the department’s new computer system, scanned in all the reports, and began to work with the FBI on the investigation again.

Deluca said his current role in the case is to simply look at it with new eyes, doing research and following up on old leads.

While he said this task is difficult, he has been trying to gain the case more publicity, even trying to get it featured on America’s Most Wanted.

“The more people revisit these cases, the easier it is to solve,” Deluca said.

Curtis is also working with the police and FBI, reacquainting himself with previous leads and, like Deluca, following up on any promising ones.

With more technology this time around, Curtis said he has been able to find some promising leads, saying that through the utilization of databases, he has found more family and other connections of Vosseler’s he didn’t know about when first investigating the abduction.

According to the FBI’s Supervisory Special Agent for New Hampshire Kieran Ramsey, the agency is also still actively investigating the case.

Agents have been pursuing new leads in the abduction as recently as this year, Ramsey said. And while he could not give many details on the investigation, he said recent leads have come out of the western and southeastern U.S.

Ramsey said the agency, like others involved, is focusing much of its time getting information about the crime and those involved out to the public, and said that solving abduction cases this old is not unheard of.

“Recently we’ve had some successful reunifications of children who were taken by an unlawful parent, and it’s largely because of continued publicity,” Ramsey said.

Curtis agreed, and said he believes there’s someone out there who knows where Vosseler is.

“I hope that if there are people who know anything, they’ll realize that this is a huge injustice and that they would share the information with the authorities,” Curtis said, saying that he’s confident Vosseler, and hopefully the boys, will be found.

For Parker, holding out hope is the only option, saying it’s the only thing that has kept her going the past 25 years.

Parker said she made a choice to hold herself together throughout this ordeal, a choice that was first made only days after her sons went missing and she was on the verge of losing her job due to absence.

“I went back to work and pasted a smile on my face by looking in the mirror and telling myself that I didn’t have a choice,” she said. “I couldn’t flip out, or go crazy and not come back … that was the first of many conversations I’ve had with myself about how you cannot give in to what you really want to feel.”

Parker said her biggest hope is that her sons are found. While she said she’d love to have a relationship with them one day, knowing that they are alive and well would be enough.

“I hope that they know I didn’t leave them and I hope that they know that I’m alive,” she said. “Do I believe there are happy endings in life? I sure do. Do I believe there’s justice? Yep. You can’t survive if you don’t have some hope.”

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the location of Vosseler or his two sons.

Vosseler has an eye condition in his left eye that causes him to often turn his head to the right side, Parker said.

The FBI asks that anyone with relevant information call the Rochester Police Department at 603-330-7127 or the New Hampshire FBI office in Portsmouth at 603-431-4585.

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Omsorgsunndragelse og samværssabotasje


Av Ole Texmo, Forum for menn og omsorg 

Problemet med foreldre som opptrer egenmektig overfor sine barns rett til kontakt med den andre forelderen, er ikke tilfredsstillende utredet. Kanskje problemet ikke anses som viktig nok, eller som problem overhode. Egenmektighet med barn burde interessere juristene mer.

Ulovlig men straffritt

Straffelovens § 216 hjemler sanksjoner overfor de som unndrar barn omsorg fra sine foreldre. Men bestemmelsen omfatter kun omsorgsunndragelse i forhold til bostedsregimet. Samværsretten er ubeskyttet for både barn og foreldre. Forhold som befinner seg i gråsonen med uklare grenseoppganger mellom foreldreregimenes status, henlegges som regel. De anses som ulovlige, men av myndighetene ikke berettiget til straffeforfølgelse. Dette syn gjelder særlig overfor mødre som tar seg til rette og forhindrer barnas kontakt med fedrene.

Bosted eller samvær

Samværssabotasje er utbredt men lite problematisert. Dels handler det om en grunnleggende systemfeil hvor samværsretten ikke anses viktig nok til å omfatte hjemlet beskyttelse. Dels er dette et politisk spørsmål. Hovedsakelig er lov og rett diskriminerende for de to regimene: hovedomsorgen – også kalt bostedsmyndighet – og samværet. Dette ulikeverdet viser seg som et problem for rettsapparatet når domstolen skal regulere forhold hvor partene juridisk sett står likt ved samlivsbruddet på foreldrekonfliktnivå. Tilegnelse av barn gjennom selvtekt representerer et betydelig tillitsprobem med hensyn til respekt for lov og rett.

Sanksjoner

Straffelovutvalget (NOU 2002:4) berørte så vidt problemstillingen omkring utvidelse av nedslagsfeltet for strl § 216, men kom ikke til at sanskjonering av brudd på samværsretten burde inkluderes. Selv om for barnet det kan være like alvorlig å bli undratt kontakt med samværsforelderen som med bostedsforelderen. Utvalget drøftet ikke konsekvenser av lovløse tilstander. Barnelovutvalget (NOU 2008:9) har foreslått en mild reaksjon i form av tvangshenting ved første gangs samværssabotasje. Her stopper erkjennelsen. Utvalget tok verken inn over seg skadevirkningene for barnet eller hensynet til respekten for lov og rett.

Mellom juss og politikk

Partiet Venstre har foreslått fengselsstraff for samværssabotasje. Slik hjemmel fins allerede i svensk lovgivning (Brottsbalken kap 7 § 4) som sidestiller egenmektighet med barn uavhengig av foreldreregime – bosted eller samvær. Forslaget er ikke konkretisert ytterligere, men man kan tenke seg at en likeverdstenkning som ikke diskriminerer mellom bosted og samvær kan virke normerende samt forebyggende. Ikke minst for å unngå kjønnspolitisk slagside, kan det være en god ide for myndighetene å innføre likhet for loven, og dermed samtidig eliminere kilde til genererte systemfeil og konfliktskapende foreldreadferd. Hvilke hensyn bør prioriteres? Barnets selvstendige behov for likeverdig kontakt med begge foreldrene? Eller systemets eneforeldertenkning som i praksis favoriserer mor.

Barnebortføring

Egenmektighet over landegrensene blir mer og mer omfattende. Når slike saker blir vanskelige skyldes det ikke bare uenighet om hvor saker og tvistegjenstander hører hjemme, men også at nasjonal lovgivning viser manglende evne og vilje til å sanksjonere tilfeller av omsorgsunndragelse og samværssabotasje. I saker hvor en forelder tar med seg barnet ut av landet, oftest uten juridisk-rettslig avklaring i forkant, får norske myndigheter problemer all den tid man ikke har utviklet fagkunnskap og forvaltningskultur som ivaretar norske foreldre og barns interesser. Haag-konvensjonen ser ikke ut til å fungere. Barnebortføringsloven (inkorporert i norsk lov 1989) har ikke resultert i ryddigere og forutsigbar praksis. Også norske myndigheter setter eksplisitte prosessregler til side når det passer seg.

”den svakeste part”

Norske myndigheter bryr seg lite om norske barn bortført til utlandet, hovedsakelig unndratt omsorg fra sine fedre. Lugano-konvensjonen inkorporert i norsk lov 1993, tillater fremmede stater å justere bidragssatser og vilkår for innkreving av norske fedres påførte bidragsskyld (art 5). Med NAV Utland som torpedosentral uten hensyn til fedrenes inntektsforhold og legalitet forøvrig. Slike absurditeter passerer uten at norske myndigheter løfter en finger for å stanse hva Likestillingsbudet anså som ”indirekte diskriminering”. Presumpsjonen om at kvinner alltid er den svake part sitter langt inne, nasjonalt og internasjonalt. Ved revisjonen av Lugano-konvensjonen (2005) bemerket Likestillingsombudet passivt: ”Den norske stat ved Justisdepartementet så heller ikke ut til å ønske noen endring og dermed heller ikke ta initiativ overfor de andre konvensjonsstatene

Mellom lov og rett

Har den antatt svakeste part alltid en god og rettferdig sak? Hvor holdbar er presumpsjonen om at mor alltid er den svakeste part? Omsorgsunndragelse og samværssabotasje behandles forskjellig fordi de som rammes tilhører forskjellig kjønn. Myndigheter og ombud engasjerer seg aldri når barn mister kontakt med sine norske fedre. Tvangsfullbyrdelse av samvær er nedprioritert. Umulighetskriteriet fungerer som selvoppfyllende profeti. Skapes konflikt gjennom selvtektshandlinger, brukes konflikten som argument for brudd i foreldrekontakt. Slik demoraliserende praksis passerer uten fagkritikk. Mellom barnelov, straffelov, tvangsfullbyrdelseslov, likestillingslov og internasjonale konvensjoner. Mangel på skille mellom mor og barns selvstendige behov forkludrer også hensynet til den svakeste part,

Juss og realiteter

Hva om det var mødre som mistet kontakten med sine barn delvis på grunn av myndighetenes unnfallenhet? Norge er stor ute i verden når det er tale om menneskerettigheter, men har vanskelig for å erkjenne brudd og systemfeil på hjemmebane. Etter at Norge ble dømt i Strasbourg i 04.10.07 forsøkes bagatellisert både rettsvirkning og forståelse av dommen hvor en far fikk medhold for påberopt krenket familieliv etter fradømt samværsrett (EMK art 8). Faren ble gjenstand for substansløse beskyldninger om seksuelle overgrep mot barna. Norsk rett realitetsbehandlet ikke anklagene, men la likevel påstandene til grunn. Asbjørn Strandbakken, leder av Barnelovutvalget, skrev i Tidsskrift for Familierett nr 1 2008 at Strasbourgdommen ikke rammer kritikken av brudd på uskyldspresumpsjonen. Det må han gjerne mene. Ingen usaklige beskyldninger mot norske fedre rammer systemtenkningen. Heller ikke dokumenterbar og systembeskyttet samværssabotasje begått av mødre når inn.

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President Obama praises Japan’s efforts to sign the Hague Convention


Source: Modern Tokyo Times

President Obama of America raised the issue of the Hague Convention with regards to the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction with Prime Minister Noda of Japan. The issue is clearly delicate in Japan and domestic law also infringes on the rights of Japanese nationals when it comes to joint custody. 

Domestic law in Japan and the Hague Convention may be separate issues but enforcement and other areas overlap despite the situation being very different.  Therefore, if Prime Minister Noda is serious about implementing the Hague Convention which relates to Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a complete overhaul of the justice system will need reforming in family law and issues related to joint custody in Japan.

It surely would be strange if Japan abided by enforcing the Hague Convention without enabling the enforcement of domestic laws related to joint custody and other aspects. Also, it is clear that Prime Minister Noda is still learning the ropes and only time will tell if Japan is really serious about implementing reforms and allowing loving parents to see their missing child or children.

In saying this, it is clear that international pressure is mounting on Japan about this issue and the DPJ is more open-minded.

If Japan does start to recognize international law and court orders related to child abduction then clearly this will bring music to the ears of many parents, grandparents and other relatives and friends, who have also suffered great anxiety.

President Obama also highlighted existing abduction cases and how these needed to be resolved. This is very important because it is feared that these cases would be in limbo but according to the sensitive conversation between both leaders then it would appear that existing cases will also be prioritized.

It must be stated that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) appears to be much more serious about this issue than past Liberal Democratic Party governments.

The Hague Convention and the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is one of many different areas in Japan which relates to parental alienation. After all, Japanese left-behind parents are also victims and some foreign nationals will have got married in Japan. Therefore, issues related to equality in the internal legal system are a major issue. This applies to the bias towards Japanese nationals in domestic courts and parental alienation in cases involving family courts irrespective of the ethnic background of the individual.  .

However, it is heartening for parents, grandparents, and other relatives, that light is starting to flicker in a cave which was so dark for many decades.  President Obama also must be praised for taking this bold step and highlighting the need to solve existing cases.

According to The Asahi Shimbun they report that “Obama also praised Japan’s efforts to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.”

Prime Minister Noda commented that “We are preparing the domestic laws that will be needed to enter into the convention at the earliest possible date.”

Brian Prager commented that “This was a statement made by Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell yesterday, September 21, 2011, after Barack Obama met the new Japanese PM Noda at the U.N. General Assembly. Our pain and agony, Japanese International Child Abduction, has finally reached the level of the President of the United States.”

“It is not the public statement from Barack Obama that we are hoping for, but it is a significant step in the right direction. It shows that at the executive level there is much greater awareness of Japanese International Child Abduction today than ever before.”

It is clear that both America and Japan will have vetted each other before talks began between both nations who have friendly relations and strong bonds.  Also, from the DPJ’s point of view they may have desired President Obama to have raised this issue because President Obama’s thinking carries a lot of weight in Japan.

Therefore, without any cross-party support to implement legal reforms in Japan the statement by Obama will carry a lot of importance.

Obviously, for the vast majority of left behind parents they may be either surprised or angry by President Obama praising “Japan’s efforts to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” which was reported by the Asahi Shimbun.

However, the DPJ, unlike the LDP, does appear to have moved dramatically in the right direction, even if “the extra mile” is still not seen because implementation will take time until domestic laws are put into place.  Also, pressure will be put on the DPJ to implement some safety measures from the Japanese point of view.

Despite this, the current government in Japan is much more open to change than prior LDP governments which either turned a blind eye or just dragged their feet by leaving it to the next administration but without any real conviction to change anything.

Therefore, while the vast majority of parents will be at a loss by President Obama speaking positively about“Japan’s efforts” this must be viewed by past governments in Japan who did little to nothing about this very important and tragic situation.

Obviously, many obstacles are still in the way and the road remains to be long but some hope is being seen at the end of the tunnel. However, until real change is implemented and images of children are seen with parents who have been disenfranchised and abandoned by a brutal system, then doubts will always remain about sincerity.

It is essential that individuals and pressure groups keep on demanding their rights and building a positive network with senior politicians and important agencies which have influence.

However, like Brian Prager comments “It shows that at the executive level there is much greater awareness of Japanese International Child Abduction today than ever before.”

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ2011092211633

http://japanabductionrui.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/campbell-speaks-about-obama-noda-meeting-at-u-n-general-assembly/

http://japanabductionrui.wordpress.com/

http://www.crcjapan.com/ Children’s Rights Council of Japan

http://bachome.org/wordpress/ Bring Abducted Children Home

Children First http://www.childrenfirst.jp/ 

http://www.chowiechowz.com/  

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Child Abduction in Japan… The REAL Numbers – part 1


Source: Letterstomysons.com

Unfortunately, child abduction in Japan is a major epidemic. Equally unfortunate is the fact that so few people are aware if it. Part of the reason for this could be the fact that the “official numbers” reported by the US Department of State are so wrong – and they know it.

According to the US Department of State [DoS], the current number of cases are as follows:

  • Since  1994, the Office of Children’s Issues has opened  230 cases involving 321 children abducted to or wrongfully retained in Japan.
  • As of January 7, 2011, the Office of Children’s Issues has  100 active cases involving 140 children.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo reports an additional 31 cases in which both parents and the child(ren) reside  in Japan but one parent has been denied access to the child(ren).

The DoS further acknowledges on their website that, “To date, the Office of Children’s Issues does not have a record of any cases resolved through a favorable Japanese court order or through the assistance of the Japanese government.”

So question number 1 that arises: What is behind the missing 130 cases?

Wait, did you catch that?  DoS has admitted to opening 230 cases.  Has acknowledged that Japan has never returned any children.  But somehow only has 100 active cases.  We will get back to this…

Another interesting “official number” is 31.  The number of cases “acknowledged” by the Department of State, where the foreign parent is being denied access to their child after separation or divorce has occurred within Japan.  This number, frankly, is just completely shameful.

Based on research done by both Law Professors in Japan and by Left-Behind Parents, we know that these cases number into the thousands.

In the english translation (Translation by Matthew J. McCauley of University of Washington’s Law School) of a paper written by Professor Tanase in 2009  (who has also been used as a consultant by DoS) he states, using statistics provided by various Japanese sources, that:

“ Over 251,000 married couples separated in 2008, and if this number is divided by the 726,000 marriages in the same year, roughly one out of every 2.9 marriages will end in divorce. Out of all divorcing couples, 144,000 have children, equaling about 245,000 children in all. Seeing as roughly 1.09 million children were born this year, about one out of every 4.5 children will experience divorce before reaching adulthood. Even with the increase in visitation awards, only about 2.6% of the 245,000 children affected by divorce [in Japan] will be allowed visitation. “

To simplify it:  Out of 245,000 children who’s parent’s are divorced in Japan ONLYabout 6300 children will be allowed to maintain some level of contact with their “non-custodial parent” (We’ll get back to how custody is determined).  The remaining 238,700 children have one parent ceremoniously cut completely and suddenly from their life – often being punished, either emotionally or physically, by the “custodial parent” if they ask to continue to see the removed parent.

In addition, based on statistics provided by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (and gathered by Left-Behind Parent: John Gomez):

  • From 1992 to 2009, there have been 7,449 divorces between an American and a Japanese in Japan.
  • Of those Americans, 6,208 were men, and 1,241 were women.
  • According to the statistics, there is, on average, one child per divorce in Japan

So when you take 7,449 divorces (each with an average of 1 child based on the above statistics) and use Professor Tanase’s 2.6% estimate (which should be expected to be higher than would actually apply to foreign parents), that leaves you with approximately 7,255 children of US citizens (just counting data up to 2009) that are being denied access to their US parent.

On top of that there are at least four “X-factors”:

  1. As the data above is only valid up to 2009, the number is higher.  Especially given that the numbers of International Marriages have been on the rise; as have been the number of abductions (Even the US Embassy in Tokyo acknowledges this, although, as will be argued, with inaccurate numbers.)
  2. That there is currently no available data on non-divorce separations.  There are many cases (how many is unclear), where although access to a child is being denied, their is no official divorce – the Japanese spouse just walked out the door one day with the children. For this situation, there is no way to track how large the numbers are.
  3. Given the fact that getting children added to the list is made extremely difficult by the hurdles of Department of State bureaucracy, and that one would generally have to do their own research to even discover the OCI exists and will, if pushed, take a report, there could be many more children abducted to Japan annually than are accounted for in the “official” counts.
  4. Children born out of wedlock or in marriages abroad that were never recorded in Japan. (thanks to Walter Benda  of http://www.crcjapan.com/ for this pointing out)

With these additional factors, it is extremely reasonable to assume that total number of US citizen children that have been abducted and are being denied access to their US heritage and familial ties is along the lines of 10,000+ children vs. the 352 acknowledged by the Department of State.

Does the US Department of State know these numbers and how bad it is?  You bet they do!  Additionally, Left Behind Parents have been discussing the vast discrepancy in numbers with DoS for years.  One parent reports that when trying to discuss the issue in person with Ambassador John Roos (current US Ambassador to Japan), that the Ambassador acknowledged that he didn’t actually know how many children there were – clearly demonstrating that DoS is not prioritizing this terrible situation.

So, given all the data, how can they claim only 31 cases of denial of access in Japan  Excellent question that a bunch of people, including the US Congress, have been asking for a very long time.

We’ll go over some possibilites when we continue in part 2… to come

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Should Aussie government cut off child support to parental kidnappers?


Source: Global Justice Initiative

The Australian government has proposed changes to that country’s existing law that enables a parent who kidnaps his or her own child to continue collecting child support from the child’s left-behind parent.

Some say that the availability of child support can reward and even enable parental kidnapping. Others argue that compromising a child’s access to continuous support in order to punish or deter the abducting parent could deprive the child of critical food, shelter, medicine and other care. And, in some cases, the link between a parental abductor and the child support services office may be the sole means of locating the abductor and the missing child.

Read the whole story here: Global Justice Initiative

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