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Offline M.Capestro

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BREAKING NEWS: House Panel to Take Up ‘David & Sean Goldman Act’…

BILL TO HELP BRING AMERICAN KIDS HOME COMES BEFORE PANEL
Japan a top offender; ‘Left-Behind’ dad David Goldman to attend

Washington, Mar 23 - At a congressional mark-up Tuesday, a bill designed to empower the U.S. State Department with more tools to achieve the return of children abducted from the U.S. and to enforce the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction will be voted on by Members of the House panel that oversees human rights. According to the U.S. State Department, over 3,200 new international parental child abduction cases involving over 4,700 children were reported from October 2007 to December 2010.

The mark-up will be held by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), chairman of the House congressional human rights subcommittee. At the hearing will be left-behind parents, including David Goldman, father of Sean Goldman who was abducted to Brazil. Goldman engaged in a widely-publicized, grueling, five-year battle to see his son again and bring him home on Dec. 24, 2009. He agreed to have the bill, H.R. 1940, named the “David and Sean Goldman International Child Abduction and Return Act.” Smith chaired a
2011 hearing of distraught ‘left-behind’ parents, most of whom, unlike Goldman, have never seen their children again after the abduction.

Japan, a top offender, is the only G-8 nation to not sign the treaty. The Congress is not aware of any case where a Japanese court has issued and enforced an order to return an abducted child to the U.S. Further, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, the European Union, Spain, the U.K. & France have all pressed Japan to sign the treaty, and return abducted children.


Who:  Congressman Smith, Chairman of the human rightssubcommittee of the Foreign Affairs Committee; other Members of the committee

When:
Tuesday, March 27 @ 2 p.m.

Where
:  2200 Rayburn House Office Buildingon the second floor.

http://chrissmith.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=286919

Offline M.Capestro

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Follow the link to view the video of this morning's TODAY SHOW update on yesterday's hearing: http://youtu.be/j2j-3ySvhM4
 
 

Offline ANALE

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Thanks for posting the video.  I was hoping the hearing would be televised yesterday but I don't think it was.

Offline lovellboys

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Follow the link to view the video of this morning's TODAY SHOW update on yesterday's hearing: http://youtu.be/j2j-3ySvhM4

Excellent!  Great clip and wonderful news!

Offline M.Capestro

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Here's a link to a few photos from yesterday. An all-around great day in DC!
 
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150748360821550.461840.274059391549&type=3&l=55259f1b2a

Offline M.Capestro

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Sanctions eyed in child abductions
Goldman's fight for son prompts House measure

Asbury Park Press
Written by Malia Rulon Herman | Washington Bureau
11:59 PM, Mar. 27, 2012
http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012303270110

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government would be able to pursue sanctions ranging from a public rebuke to trade and credit suspensions against countries that harbor children abducted by a parent, under a bill approved by a House subcommittee on Tuesday.

The bill from Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., is named The Sean and David Goldman Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act in honor of the Tinton Falls, N.J., man whose five-year fight to get his son back drew international attention.

Goldman knows he’s one of the lucky ones.

His son, Sean, was returned to him in 2009 after his wife took their then-4-year-old home to Brazil in 2004 and never returned. She remarried, then died in childbirth in 2008, and an international custody battle ensued, culminating with the emotional return of Goldman’s son, now a sixth-grader who loves basketball.

“He’s a normal, happy, typical soon-to-be 12-year-old,” Goldman said.

Thousands of parents aren’t as lucky. According to the U.S. State Department, between 2008 and 2010, parents have reported more than 3,200 abduction cases involving some 4,700 children.

One case is that of Paul Toland of Bethesda, Md. He hasn’t seen his daughter Erika since July 2003, when his wife, a Japanese native, moved out of their home on a Navy base in Japan and cut off all contact. She later died but the child’s grandmother won’t relinquish his daughter.

“My daughter is going to grow up not knowing me if we don’t have action,” he said, urging Congress to act quickly.

Nancy Elias of Rutherford, N.J., agreed.

She mourns the grandchildren she hasn’t seen in three years. Her son, Marine Sgt. Michael Elias, returned from fighting in Iraq to find his wife had been having an affair. She took their children to Japan and has refused to allow visits.

“I’m missing out on the most precious gifts of my life — my granddaughter, and my grandson,” Elias said, choking back tears.

Time to act
Goldman said it’s time for action.

“When I see these parents who are still struggling, it breaks my heart because I know what they are going through,” he said. “We need to do something. Our government needs to take this seriously. We want our kids back.”

Under the bill passed Tuesday by the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, the U.S. State Department would have more tools to enforce the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The 1980 treaty, which has 81 countries as signatories, prevents parents from fleeing with their children until a court determines custody.

Japan is the only G-8 nation not to sign the treaty. Under Japanese law, parental child abduction is not seen as a crime. When a couple splits, common practice is for one parent to take full custody of the children. To date, Japan has not enforced any court order for the return of an abducted American child.

For the first time, the Goldman Act would give the U.S. government authority to deal with countries like Japan through strict sanctions, which Smith said would take “us a step closer” to seeing the first U.S. child return from Japan.

“We cannot allow child abductions to flourish as it is,” Smith said. “It is time for an approach that backs our demands for adherence to international obligations with penalties.”

“The expectation is that the president will use all tools necessary to bring our children home in a timely manner,” Smith said.

The bill is now pending action by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It also would need to pass both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
 

Offline SageDad

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 :yeahthat


Thanks to Missy, the rest of BSHF, Chris Smith and everyone else involved in this for so long!!




It's easy to get tired and frustrated over time when you do not see much of the progress you hope for..  I know I am very tired, but I have more reason than most to keep going.  I wish David would have had a community and organization like this from the beginning of his 5+ year odyssey.  I am approaching 4 years of doing this and don't care to try to imagine how much more tired and frustrated I would be without all of you.


Edit: fix super-small text
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 04:17:59 PM by SageDad »
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Offline Nicole's Dad

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Although I totally agree with this new bill, it is one thing to have this bill and empower the White House and the State Department. It's another thing to get them to actually use this power. Personally with my experience. I do not ever expect them to expand their powers to this level. The first time this ever happens, we will be accused of living in a glass house. "He who has not sinned shall cast the first stone". We need to clean up our own house first before we try to clean somebody else's.
 
What we need in this country is stricter immigration and customs laws and controls in stopping these men and women from leaving this country unless they can prove they have permission from the other parent. To start with? Exit controls just like most other countries. Of course some silly lawyer will challenge that calling unfair and encroaching on our civil liberties as parents. This government does not and has not in over 20 years ever taken this problem seriously and it is growing to astronomical proportions. Remember the story about one elected official's child family member being abducted? How long did it take him to get his grandson or nephew back? Not long.
 
Bottom line. Don't ever count on your government to help you get your child back. The only way for this to stop is "prevention". We must act on this and stop all the rhetoric and talk. This bill is three years in the making and still has not passed the congressional steps yet. Unbelievable beaurocracy or however the hell you spell it.

Offline rduffiel

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Thanks for sharing this.
Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.  ~Alfred Lord Tennyson

Rose

Offline M.Capestro

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U.S. congressional panel advances bill on child abductions
http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/u-s-congressional-panel-presses-japan-on-child-abductions
March 28, 2012

WASHINGTON — A U.S. congressional panel on Tuesday advanced a bill that would punish nations for not addressing child abductions, putting pressure on Japan which has never returned a child to foreign parents.

The House foreign affairs subcommittee on human rights approved a bill that would pave the way to call off cultural or scientific exchanges or deny export licenses to countries that do not promptly seek to resolve abduction cases.

“Our current system with its endless delays and lack of proper accountability has failed too many,” said Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey and chairman of the subcommittee.

“It is time for an approach that backs our demands for adherence to international obligations with penalties and makes very clear to foes and friends alike that our children are our priority,” he said.

The measure still needs approval from the full committee and House of Representatives along with the Senate to become law.

While the bill would apply to all countries, the United States has the most pending cases with Japan where U.S. parents have pursued more than 120 cases to seek access to their half-Japanese children.

Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents, especially men, and authorities have never returned overseas a child snatched to Japan.

Japan long argued that it is protecting women from abuse. But under growing foreign pressure, Japanese leaders have voiced support for ratifying the 1980 Hague convention that requires countries to return children to the country where they usually live.

But even if Japan signed the treaty, it would only apply to future cases.

Doug Berg, who served with the U.S. military in Japan, said that his two children were abducted in 2009 and that he has not heard from them even after last year’s devastating tsunami.

“The only time I ever get to see them, really, is when I dream about them. I don’t know where they’re living. I’m not allowed to know,” he said.

“That’s a shame that we call that country an ally of ours,” he said.

The bill would call on the president to make a diplomatic demarche to another country if a child abduction case is pending for more than six weeks.

If a country has 10 or more cases pending, the United States could take tougher action such as refusing to grant export licenses for goods, withholding aid and canceling exchanges or official visits.
 

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: The David and Sean Goldman International Child Abduction and Return Act
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 04:14:17 PM »
 
House Panel Votes to Pass ‘Sean & David Goldman Act'
Bill to Help Bring U.S. Kids Home Approved by Panel
http://chrissmith.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=287389

Washington, Mar 27 - With David Goldman and other left behind parents from around the country at a congressional mark-up Tuesday, a bill designed to empower the U.S. State Department with more tools to achieve the return of children abducted from the U.S. and to enforce the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was approved by Members of the House panel that oversees human rights.

Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), chairman of the House congressional human rights subcommittee, saw his bill, H.R. 1940, now named the “Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act” lauded by the panel members as a way to help bring thousands of American children who are victims of international parental child abduction, back home. According to the U.S. State Department, over 3,200 new international parental child abduction cases involving over 4,700 children were reported from October 2008 to December 2010.

Parental child abduction is child abuse,” Smith said. “Too many families have been waiting too long for the return of their children. Our current system with its endless delays and lack of proper accountability has failed too many. It is time for an approach that backs our demands with penalties and makes very clear to foes and friends alike that our children are our top priority.” Click here to read Chairman Smith’s opening remarks, which spell out 17 presidential actions the bill provides to help recover U.S. children.

Smith said the bill, approved by unanimous consent, “will put teeth into U.S. government efforts to reclaim abducted American children by giving the President important tools that motivate other countries to more quickly respond to efforts to return an abducted child.”

At the mark-up were left behind parents and family members, including Goldman of Monmouth County, N.J., father of Sean Goldman who was abducted to Brazil. Goldman was engaged in a widely-publicized, grueling, five-year battle to see his son again and bring him home on Dec. 24, 2009. Unfortunately many ‘left-behind’ parents, unlike Goldman, have never seen their children again after the abduction.

Left behind parents Chris Savoie, Paul Toland and Douglas Berg all offered their personal painful experiences at the proceeding, as did left-behind grandparent of two New Jersey abducted children, Nancy Elias. All spoke with reporters prior to the mark-up. Seated next to Goldman and the other left behind parents at the hearing was NBC Dateline journalist Meredith Vieira, who helped bring critical attention Goldman’s case.

H.R. 1940 as amended is also for the left behind parents and bereaved children who have been taken to countries that are not party to the Hague Abduction Convention,” Smith said. “Parents like Michael Elias, a combat-injured Iraqi veteran from New Jersey, whose ex-wife used her Japanese consulate connections to abduct little Jade and Michael Jr., after the New Jersey court had ordered surrender of passports and joint custody.

Smith said H.R. 1940 directs the President to take measured, effective, and predictable actions to aggressively advocate for our children’s return. Such actions range from denial of certain assistance to prohibiting the procurement of certain goods or services from the government or instrumentality responsible for the pattern of noncooperation.

I hope that it will not be necessary to use the penalties provided in this bill,” Smith said. “In the best case scenario, just the possibility of adverse consequences will motivate the resolution of current open cases of international child abduction, and prevent additional cases from happening in the first place. If parents have no place to hide, they are less likely to run with the children.

All of the subcommittee Members attended the mark-up and all supported Smith’s legislation. Speaking in strong favor of passage were Ranking Democrat Rep. Karen Bass (CA-33), Vice Chairman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Tom Marino (PA-10), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) and Robert Turner (NY-09).

We must act quickly and decisively to raise international awareness of the gravity of parental child abduction and galvanize the will of the international community to stop it,” Smith said. “This Subcommittee’s approval of this bill is a first step to achieving these goals.”

 

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: The David and Sean Goldman International Child Abduction and Return Act
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2012, 04:51:49 PM »
Great article posted by The Moderate Voice.
 
The “Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act”
http://themoderatevoice.com/142836/the-%e2%80%9csean-and-david-goldman-international-child-abduction-prevention-and-return-act/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+themoderatevoice+%28The+Moderate+Voice%29
Posted by DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist in At TMV
Mar 28th, 2012

By the time I started writing (in February 2009) about “the unbelievably tragic—and exasperating—story of an American father’s brave fight to bring his son home, an 8-year old boy who is being held in Brazil in violation of all international norms, and human decency,” David Goldman — the father of Sean Goldman — had already been fighting that battle for more than four years. And the battle would go on for almost another year.

It all started on June 16, 2004, when David Goldman said goodbye to his four-year-old son, Sean, at Newark Airport. He didn’t know it at the time but his wife, Bruna, and her parents Silvana Bianchi Ribeiro and Raimundo Ribeiro were in the process of abducting Sean and taking him to Brazil with no intention of ever returning, according to the blog BringSeanHome.org

It all ended on Christmas Eve 2009 when it was “wheels-up” for the NBC News charter aircraft taking off from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, finally bringing David Goldman and his son back home to the United States of America.

These two events are the bookends to more than five years of relentless, heartbreaking fighting by a father — replete with dashed hopes and disappointments — against both the Brazilian judicial system and against two very powerful and influential families in Brazil that have done everything they can, used every judge and court they could, to prevent Sean from being reunited with his father.

After Sean was safely home, in January 2010, I wrote:

Quote
It was a monumental battle against a powerful, affluent, politically well-connected Brazilian family and against a less than just Brazilian justice system—a battle of classic David vs. Goliath proportions. But, while David Goldman was certainly the indefatigable fighter, the relentless warrior, the modern day Don Quixote and the ultimate champion for what is right—and for what is his—I will not call him a hero.

I will not call him a hero, for David Goldman is much more than that. He is a man doing what any father who dearly loves his young son would do.

While there were many others who contributed to this tragedy’s happy ending, including President Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, David’s lawyers, NBC, and the millions of supporters, the real hero in this long and hard fight is, in my opinion, New Jersey Congressman Christopher Smith, a 30-year Member of Congress, a Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and a father.

These are some of the things Congressman Smith has done for David and Sean Goldman and for all those whose children have been abducted:

Representative Smith is the author of numerous human rights laws, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.

On March 11, 2009, Smith introduced and had unanimously passed House Resolution 125, “Sean Goldman International Child Abduction Resolution,” calling on Brazil to fulfill its treaty obligations under The Hague Convention and immediately return Sean Goldman to his father in the United States.

On June 3, 2009, Congressman Chris Smith addressed the U. S. House of Representatives with a powerful speech, “On Sean Goldman – Justice Delayed Again.”

On June 4, 2009, Smith introduced H.R. 2702, a Bill “To suspend the application of Generalized System of Preferences for Brazil until such time as Brazil complies with its obligations toward the United States under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.” In effect, the bill would suspend special trade privileges Brazil enjoyed on export goods worth $2.7 billion to the United States.

On June 19, 2009, in an article in the Washington Times, “Will Brazil Do the Right Thing?” Smith described David Goldman’s five-year ordeal and blasted the Brazil judicial system.

On July 16, 2009, Smith introduced H.R. 3240, “The International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009,” a bill that would ensure compliance with the 1980 The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by countries with which the United States enjoys reciprocal obligations, and would establish procedures for the prompt return of children abducted to other countries.

On December 2, 2009, Smith arranged for David Goldman to appear before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on international child abduction and parental access.

Finally, yesterday, with David Goldman and other left behind parents from around the country surrounding him at a mark-up ceremony, “a bill designed to empower the U.S. State Department with more tools to achieve the return of children abducted from the U.S. and to enforce the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction” was approved by Members of the House panel that oversees human rights.

Congressman Smith finally saw his bill, H.R. 1940, now named the “Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act” lauded by the panel members as a way to help bring thousands of American children who are victims of international parental child abduction, back home. According to the U.S. State Department, over 3,200 new international parental child abduction cases involving over 4,700 children were reported from October 2008 to December 2010.

Smith said the bill, approved by unanimous consent, “will put teeth into U.S. government efforts to reclaim abducted American children by giving the President important tools that motivate other countries to more quickly respond to efforts to return an abducted child.”

Once again, Thank You, Congressman Smith.

 

Offline LukieD

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Re: The David and Sean Goldman International Child Abduction and Return Act
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 06:37:26 PM »
I'm glad to see all of the media reports quoting the very important statistic that almost 5,000 American children have been abducted from the US in the last three years alone. We are still trying to better understand how the State Department claims that they are working on active cases currently involving only 2,400 abducted children. The numbers simply don't add up but we will get to the bottom of it.
 
For those of you just catching up on recent events, yesterday was a very good day for the cause and for BSHF. Rep. Smith's bill, HR 1940 (the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, known for short as the "Goldman Act") achieved a significant boost yesterday when it was voted unanimously to move on to the full House Foreign Affairs Committee for a vote. There is now a meaningful and realistic chance that this bill becomes law one day after several years of waiting and hoping it would eventually see the light of day. Thank you to everyone for all of your support along the way. We still have a ways to go, but the significance of yesterday's accomplishment is worth celebrating.

Offline Bob D'Amico

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Re: The David and Sean Goldman International Child Abduction and Return Act
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2012, 02:47:53 AM »
BSHF Email & Congressman Chris Smith Press release

Bill to Help Bring U.S. Kids Home Approved by Panel
Bob D'Amico

Offline SageDad

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Re: The David and Sean Goldman International Child Abduction and Return Act
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2012, 04:21:28 PM »
Does Congressman Smith's legislative aids have any advice for volunteers and LBP's who would like to help drive this forward?
“What you seek is seeking you.”
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