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Author Topic: David Goldman writes editorial on 4-year anniversary of Sean's return  (Read 1796 times)

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Offline LukieD

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The following editorial appeared in today's Asbury Park Press:

http://www.app.com/article/20131224/NJOPINION03/312240003/Government-must-advocate-abducted-children

Government must be advocate for abducted children

This Christmas Eve marks the fourth anniversary of my personal miracle when, after six tortured years trying to secure his return, my abducted son was finally returned from Brazil. Thankfully, today, Sean is home and thriving in New Jersey. An active 13-year old, he loves fishing, basketball and spending time with his family and friends. After being abducted abroad and alienated from his life and loved ones, Sean’s re-acclimation to life in America is a testament to the resiliency of children.Sadly, most of the children abducted from our country by a parent never come home.  The level of despair these families suffer is unimaginable. Fighting for the return of their children becomes an all-consuming and never-ending battle, often draining them emotionally and financially.

That is why I co-founded the Bring Sean Home Foundation (BSHF), a non-profit dedicated to the cause of bringing abducted children home.

But private efforts are not enough. Child abduction is child abuse and must be treated as a serious human rights violation by the U.S. government. Our country must use its moral, legal, and diplomatic authority to bring abducted American children home. But that is not what is happening today.

Our government rarely takes a strong stand on the issue of child abduction the way it did for Sean and me. Sean’s return four years ago gave the community of left-behind families a renewed sense of hope that finally, our government was getting serious about the tragic issue of international child abduction. I am disappointed today that so little has changed. Rather than advocate, our government plays the role of intermediary and at best, merely assists in the processing of paperwork. Too often, the desire to maintain harmonious bilateral relations with other countries trumps human rights issues like child abduction.The U.S. government, despite pronouncements that this is an issue of deep concern, does precious little to assist in seeing that abducted children are brought home swiftly, if at all.

What’s missing is a strong and clear message from our country’s leaders demanding these abducted American children be returned home to their left-behind families with a threat of consequences for refusal to do so.To give left-behind families and their abducted children the support they need, Congress — in a remarkable example of bipartisan cooperation — passed on Dec. 11 The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (H.R. 3212) by a vote of 398 to 0.

The bill’s author, Rep. Chris Smith, has been steadfast in his support of victims of international child abduction. The unanimous showing of support for this legislation should be the catalyst for swift passage of the bill in the U.S. Senate, where it awaits consideration in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Sen. Robert Menendez.

The law would make child abduction a nation-to-nation issue rather than requiring parents to confront complicated and often corrupt, foreign judicial systems on their own. It would provide real sanctions and real consequences to countries that, flagrantly and repeatedly, refuse to return abducted American children as required by the treaty they signed.

To remedy this problem, H.R.3212 lays out a list of escalating consequences for countries which flagrantly defy treaty mandates to return abducted American children.

It also requires that the State Department report regularly to our elected representatives in the Congress, something that isn’t happening today.When passed into law, this legislation will help end the suffering endured by thousands of American families that have been torn apart by international child abduction.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 08:54:29 AM by LukieD »

Offline TomD

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Re: Another editorial on HR 3212
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 10:18:41 PM »
http://njm1therecord.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

16 Dec 2013, The Record (Bergen County)
Returning children, A tool to fight international abductions  IT’S RARE to see Congress agree on anything, so it was heartening to see a 398-0 vote Wednesday in the House of Representatives in support of a bill to help parents whose children were abducted by a spouse or other family member to live in another country.  Rep. Chris Smith, R-Mercer.  There are existing laws that are supposed to help parents engaged in an international custody battle, such as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. But the reality is that they aren’t very effective.   Rep. Chris Smith, a Republican from Mercer County, authored the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013, which was unanimously approved in the House on Wednesday. It would increase the oversight on child abduction cases and give the State Department more power to help resolve them.   David Goldman, of Tinton Falls, spent five years apart from his son, Sean, after the boy’s mother took him to Brazil and her parents tried to win custody after the mother died. Smith pressured the State Department and made two trips to Brazil with Goldman. They eventually succeeded in getting Sean back after Sen. Frank Lautenberg said he would block action on a trade bill Brazil wanted.   Most “left-behind parents,” as they’re called, haven’t been as fortunate as Goldman.   Smith said that each year, more than 1,000 international child abductions are reported to the State Department’s Office on Children’s Issues. Some of these are military members whose service keeps them from being able to attend legal proceedings in the United States or abroad.     Smith said that according to State Department reports, only about half of the children abducted to countries that are part of the Hague Abduction Convention are returned. And the percentage is less than 40 percent when the children are taken to countries without treaty obligations to the U.S.   The bill would make it clear that reuniting parents with their children is a priority for the U.S. government. Part of its guidelines would require the State Department to file an annual report on the number of abductions and which countries have shown a pattern of non-cooperation.   The bill grants the president the power to authorize an escalating series of actions as deemed necessary to resolve an abduction case. These include: a public condemnation, a delay or canceling of scientific or cultural exchanges, denying or canceling state visits and holding back development or security assistance.   The last item in the list of actions allows the president to order U.S. agencies to withhold licenses to export goods or technologies to a country that continues to be uncooperative with efforts to resolve international child abductions.   That’s important, because money talks. In Goldman’s case, Lautenberg’s threat to block a trade bill seemed to make the difference.   We applaud Smith for championing the plight of thousands of citizens across the country. With required protocols and training for officials, this bill will make the recovery process for left-behind parents much more efficient.   Losing a child in an international custody battle is a nightmare scenario for a parent. Now we urge the Senate to continue this fight to help more children and their parents reunite.   
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke