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Author Topic: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week  (Read 3251 times)

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Offline LukieD

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Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« on: March 10, 2014, 09:22:27 AM »
Below is some info sent to us by a father whose son was abducted to Brazil and remains there today, awaiting a legal ruling for his return:

1. On Wednesday March 12th there will be a public hearing in the Brazilian Senate about the Hague Convention -- see the link and pdf file below:

http://www12.senado.gov.br/noticias/materias/2014/03/07/ministra-maria-do-rosario-participa-de-audiencia-sobre-sequestro-internacional-de-criancas

http://www12.senado.gov.br/noticias/Arquivos/2014/03/07/veja-a-pauta-completa-da-cdh

The minister who is responsible for the BCA, Maria do Rosario Nunes will attend the hearing. The hearing is being held at the request of Senators Ana Rita and Eduardo Suplicy, who seem to be requesting a "Brazilian approach", which is in favor of Brazilian parents (and thus by definition non-compliant with the Convention). It will be interesting to hear what the minister has to say on this subject. You may recall some of the controversial comments she made on the Goldman case after Sean's return.
   
2.  Last week the Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (STJ) decided not to return two abducted kids to Ireland. The decision mentions that the kids are today 15˝ and 17 years old. The 17-year old could not be returned, because the Hague Convention does no longer apply due to the age of this kid. And they didn't want to separate the two kids. In itself perhaps this is not controversial, if it hadn't been for the fact that the case stalled in the Brazilian Courts for 10 years (the case was filed in 2004).

See this link on the case:

http://www.stj.jus.br/portal_stj/publicacao/engine.wsp?tmp.area=398&tmp.texto=113485


« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 10:58:34 AM by LukieD »

Offline LukieD

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Re: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 10:18:42 AM »
I came across this article from 2011 recently which reminded me of this working group the US set up with Brazil in 2011. It's too bad we haven't heard anything more from our State Department in terms of how the efforts are going and whether we're seeing any positive (or negative) results. Given the lack of evidence that more children have been returned from Brazil under the Hague Convention, I fear the news isn't good. Let us hope that this hearing Wednesday is an opportunity for Brazil to demonstrate its commitment to honoring the Hague treaty.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/05/25/us.parental.abductions/

As for the statistic in the article which mentions the NCMEC's figure of "nearly 2,000" international parental child abductions in 2010 (presumably involving more than 2,000 children considering many abductions involve more than one child), it's interesting to note that the official number from the State Department for 2010 was 1,492 children abducted abroad. It's odd that the NCMEC would have a figure so much higher than the official figure put out by our own State Department.


'A very disturbing trend': Parents kidnap their children, flee country

By  Jamie Crawford, CNN National Security Producer
May 25, 2011 3:28 p.m. EDT

Washington (CNN) -- More children are being abducted by a parent who then takes them out of the country, and more needs to be done to bring the children back to their legal homes, the U.S. official who oversees the issue said Wednesday.
The number of such abductions reported is "sharply on the rise -- a very disturbing trend," said Susan Jacobs, the special advisor for children's issues at the State Department.

Jacobs also said her department is one of the fastest growing offices at the State Department because of the increasing rate of international abductions involving children with American parents.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited children said that in 2010 there were nearly 2,000 parental abductions in which the child was taken out of the United States.

"International parental abduction is a federal crime with long-term, damaging consequences for both parents and children, even when the cases are resolved," Jacobs said. "Parents seeking the return of their children or permission to visit them confront unfamiliar legal, cultural, and linguistic barriers; they suffer emotional trauma, and they face significant and long-term financial costs."

The United States is encouraging other countries to sign onto The Hague Convention on international child abductions, a treaty signed by more than 60 countries that provides a civil mechanism to return children wrongfully removed from the country where they live.

Jacobs said decisions under the convention are commonly based on where the child usually resides. When properly implemented, "the convention works," she said.

The issue grabbed headlines a few years ago with the case of Sean Goldman, whose American father, David, was engaged in an international custody battle after the boy's Brazilian mother refused to let the child return to his father following a vacation in Brazil. The boy was eventually returned to his father after a ruling by the Brazilian supreme court.

Jacobs, incidentally, met with Brazilian authorities last week to discuss ways to speed up the reunification of children with their families. From their discussions, Jacobs said, Brazil and the United States are to hold the first meeting of a children's working group later this year.

Jacobs and others traveled to the Department of Justice Wednesday afternoon for an observance of National Missing Children's Day to honor the work of those in law enforcement who recover missing children and combat child exploitation.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has weighed in on the issue as well. In videotaped remarks to mark the day, Clinton asked for to people to continue to speak out on the issue to "help children around the world come home."

Offline tweinstein

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Re: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 09:14:25 PM »
A few months ago, I was speaking to the director of the BCA. He mentioned that they were planning the formation of a working group to discuss the Hague Convention. He mentioned that they wanted to include all parties (lawyers, judges, taking parents, left-behind parents) involved to get their perspectives. I was planning on following up with him to see if this idea went anywhere.

Offline tweinstein

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Re: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 02:35:24 PM »
It seems that the group (called the Permanent Commission) was formed at the end of January. Their goal is to draft a bill that will shorten the time frame of Hague Convention cases in federal courts as well as organize a prevention campaign. However, it has not yet been decided who will be a member the group.

Offline LukieD

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Re: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2014, 02:18:27 PM »
Below is some information on the hearing yesterday in Brazil. I do not see any mention of the legislation Timothy refers to above. Nor is there any mention of the various working groups that supposedly have been set up in Brazil.

We'll have to read through this transcript carefully but at first glance, it seems troubling. The Human Rights Minister, Mario do Rosario Nunes, talks about the Hague in general terms but does not expressly state a commitment for Brazil to honor the Convention, as it's written. Instead, she refers to an exception for domestic violence (presumably the 13(b) grave risk exception) and then proceeds to tell the audience that there should be similar exceptions for children with mental or intellectual disabilities. I'm not sure why the application of the Hague for those children should be any different or what would give Brazil the right to treat those cases differently. And then there's the issue of defining an "intellectual disability." It doesn't take a wild  imagination to assume that just about every abducting parent would look for a way to use that exception to their advantage, given the opportunity.


A transcript of the debate can be found here (not complete at this moment):
http://www.congressonacional.leg.br/portal/taquigrafia/2363

The presentation made by minister Maria Rosario Do Nunes in the Brazilian senate can be seen here (42 min video).
http://www.senado.gov.br/noticias/TV/plenarioComissoes2.asp?IND_ACESSO=S&cod_midia=329248&cod_video=328626

It is possible to download the entire video (173 MB) by clicking on the orange button "Salvar" (=save) under the video.

Link to minister Maria do Rosario Nunes' PowerPoint presentation (includes some very interesting statistics).
http://www.senado.gov.br/noticias/agencia/pdfs/MariadorosarionaCDH.pdf

These articles describes in short, which kind of changes to the Hague Convention the Minister wants (exceptions for mentally disabled Children)
   
http://www12.senado.gov.br/noticias/materias/2014/03/12/para-ministra-convencao-de-haia-deve-mudar-em-caso-de-disputa-de-filho-com-deficiencia

http://www12.senado.gov.br/jornal/edicoes/2014/03/13/ministra-quer-mudar-convencao-de-haia-em-caso-de-filho-com-deficiencia

http://www.ptnosenado.org.br/textos/69-noticias/29161-comissao-debateu-conflitos-sobre-a-guarda-de-criancas-

See also this interview with the minister (from the Senate's youtube channel).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S3NDOZH1lg

 
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 02:24:57 PM by LukieD »

Offline NoansDad

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Re: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2014, 09:29:57 PM »
More BS. It is all BS.
I have now been waiting 15 months for a court t ALLOW my son to receive Christmas gifts and Birthday presents from me. The time for her to appeal was over months ago. But she was now allowed to appeal months late..... because..... who knows why.... because there is an ABSOLUTELY sane and logical reason behind someone arguing that a 5 year old boy cannot be allowed to get presents.
Noan, your Dad loves you and misses you every single day.

Offline tweinstein

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Re: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 08:33:23 AM »
The statistics basically confirm that virtually no children are returned through a court order from Brazil. It was also interesting to see that more than 80% of cases involve a child taken TO Brazil rather than FROM.

Offline LukieD

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Re: Brazilian Senate to debate the Hague Convention this week
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 08:53:43 AM »
The statistics basically confirm that virtually no children are returned through a court order from Brazil. It was also interesting to see that more than 80% of cases involve a child taken TO Brazil rather than FROM.

True, and the Minister is kidding herself if she truly believes that's only because it's difficult to abduct a child from Brazil. Clearly, the fact that most abductors bringing children to Brazil have some level of success has a lot to do with it, but we can't expect her to admit that, can we?

As for the content of the hearing, the more time I've had to review it I can't help but think the entire event was a charade. There was virtually no serious discussion of the problems with implementation of the Hague Convention. The elected officials called witnesses with cases so as to garner public sympathy for their positions but it's not clear that anything was accomplished relating to Brazil's performance with the Hague.

The notion that the Minister of Human Rights would testify as to what she likes about the Hague and what she thinks should be changed is ludicrous on its face. Any serious discussion of Brazil and the Hague would focus on things such as judicial delays in Hague cases, education of judges, lack of enforcement mechanisms for Hague court orders, etc. Sadly, none of that was discussed. What a missed opportunity.

Here's what a Brazilian friend and lawyer had to say about this hearing:

"
To understand this situation, we have in Brazil the old proverb:
"To the friends everything, to the enemies the law."The PT political party is doing domestic discourse, because this is an electoral year. It is a playscene, the Brazilian culture of “jeitinho”.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 08:57:15 AM by LukieD »