Minister proposes Sean Goldman to stay with Brazilian family

The Minister of the Special Secretariat for Human Rights of the Presidency, Pauolo Vannuchi called this Wednesday in the House the residence of the boy Sean Goldman to the Brazilian family with the right to “free access” of the biological father.

The boy of 8 years living in Rio de Janeiro and their care is being sought in court by his father, the American David Goldman. The father of Sean, João Paulo Lins e Silva, has the custody of the boy and asked that he remain in Brazil. Sean was born in the United States legally and came to Brazil with her mother, Bruna Bianchi, four years ago, with permission of the father. Bruna died in August last year, during the birth of his second child.

On hearing the Commission on Human Rights and Minorities, the minister emphasized that “in cases like this, you can not work with only two cases exclusionary.” The minister emphasized that it should not take a position on the merits. He said the case was referred to the General Counsel of the Union (AGU), which decides whether or not by referring to the Judiciary. “The final decision lies with Justice in Brazil, which should manifest itself in the light of national and international legislation on the subject.”

Vannuchi noted that Brazil has joined the Hague Convention on the abduction (and not “kidnapping”, as has been erroneously translated) international children. “Thus, in addition to the Brazilian laws, such as the Federal Constitution and the Statute of the Child and Adolescent, we must take into account international law.”

The Attorney General of the Union, Luiz Fernando Albuquerque Faria, explained at the hearing the performance of AGU in the implementation of the Convention, which has as one of its basic principles of the child to return to their country of habitual residence. He also said that there is an emphasis on the attempt at conciliation, “which has been possible in almost half the cases. In the other, the matter is referred to the Judiciary.”

The lawyer of the family of Sean Brazilian, Sergio Tostes, emphasized the legality of the child coming to Brazil, and the various initiatives of the mother, and then the stepfather, who appealed to the Brazilian Justice to maintain custody of the boy.

According Tostes, the biological father has never called for justice when in Brazil, and “even when the country was not visiting the child, guided by their lawyers not to compromise the claim of kidnapping,” said Tostes. According to the lawyer, was “an attempt to kidnap” from Sean by his father, during a visit authorized by the Justice, to which he appeared with several people, including two federal police. This was considered a serious accusation Vannuchi by the Minister, who promised to question about the fact corporation.

David Goldman Tostes also accused of using the Internet so sensational, including to raise funds “to cover the costs of the proceedings in Brazil.” These costs, according Tostes not exist because the process runs for the state. For the lawyer, the “nodal points” of the Hague Convention – to stay in the usual place of residence and the higher interest of the child – pointing to the maintenance of Sean in Brazil.

Mr Paes de Lira (PTC-SP) has an emphatic defense of the view of David Goldman – father simply not “biological father” or “American Dad” the boy, as he said. “There is no claim, no court decision has deprived of paternal power,” he said. There was a unilateral decision of the mother, and now is the Brazilian state that is deprived of that right. “By natural law, the Christian tradition, the child should return to the father,” argued Lira.

Interests of the child
The Chamber of Mrs Rita (PMDB-ES), one of which called for the debate, noted that the welfare of Sean must be above any other interest. “The Status of Children and Adolescents is very clear when the child ensures that, when it is able to express your opinion, should not be exposed to the public but must be considered in judicial proceedings.”

Chamber of Rita noted that the case of Sean is only one among hundreds of similar cases occurring between Brazil and other countries. For her, the decision of Justice in this case will serve as norteamento for other cases.

Vannuchi also supported the negotiation between the parties in conflict. “We must reach a consensus for the good of the child, allow the establishment of coexistence between a boy and his biological father for that, the child can decide whether to stay,” he added. To Vannuchi “in any of the extreme cases – the delivery of the families with the exclusion of the other – there will be harm to the child”.

Paulo Vannuchi emphasized that the Brazilian legislation on child speaks of the integral protection doctrine. “The child has to be defended, and therefore it is essential that families have the two parties, that diplomacy is that the lawyers of the parties talk. If the judicial decision is to stay in Brazil, should be within a set of right to visit his father, with the definition of terms.”

To the minister, it must be possible to visit the United States. “We can not from this assumption that if the child is the United States is kidnapped and held there.” Vannuchi hopes that the Brazilian family and biological father to agree that both can live with the child.

Original in Portuguese:

Official: “Negotiate end to Brazil custody battle”
The Washington Post via Associated Press
22 April 2009

BRASILIA, Brazil — A Brazilian official says there should be a negotiated end to a custody battle between a U.S. father and a Brazilian stepfather over a boy.

The case is now before a federal court, but top Brazilian human rights official Paulo Vannuchi says the court shouldn’t give absolute custody to either party.

He told a congressional hearing Wednesday the boy should stay in Brazil but the U.S. father should have liberal visitation rights.

The boy’s Brazilian mother took him to Brazil in 2004 and never returned to the United States. She divorced his American father and remarried, but died last year.

The boy’s father is David Goldman, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey. He says Brazilian courts have denied him custody. The 8-year-old is being raised by his stepfather.

Letter to Minister Pauolo Vannuchi
President of the Brazilian Central Authority Special Secretary for Human Rights

by Mark DeAngelis
Bring Sean Home Foundation

23 April 2009

Dear Minister Vannuchi:

With all due respect Mr. Minister, you have some explaining to do after your testimony yesterday. I read with great dismay all of your published comments from yesterday’s Congressional hearing and I must confess these remarks are extremely distressing to all of us who support Sean Goldman’s return to his biological father in the United States. Are you not Sir, the Special Secretary for Human Rights for Brazil, the de facto Head of the Brazilian Central Authority, responsible for overseeing Brazil’s implementation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction? If so, why are you even stating your personal opinion on this case publicly and why is that opinion completely contradictory to the previous stated position of the BCA and the Brazilian government, both of which have formally called for Sean Goldman’s immediate return to his father? Do you not believe in the rule of law and the application of the Hague Convention to the Goldman case? The law in this case does not provide for any “intermediate” solutions as you state, nor does it allow for any compromise that might result in a shared custody situation. I believe strongly that you need to go on record and explain your remarks, as they are causing a great deal of confusion, anxiety, and anger among supporters of a fair and just resolution to this case.

I must say that I was completely stunned by your comments. By these remarks, you are helping to create a circus atmosphere in Brazil which will set your country back many years in terms of its adherence to international law and compliance with international treaties. Hearing remarks yesterday such as yours, one need not wonder why Brazil has succeeded in being labeled as “less compliant” by the US State Department all three years it has been a full participant in the Hague Convention. I would imagine that your best interests would be served by striving to be more compliant under the law, but apparently I am mistaken.

As an aside, I have been impressed with the ongoing efforts of Ms. Patricia Lamego in the Sean Goldman case. She clearly understands Brazil’s obligations under the Convention as well as anyone in Brazil. I can only imagine that some, if not all, of your colleagues at the BCA might take exception to your testimony yesterday.

I trust and hope you will set the record straight on what was said yesterday, because it certainly does appear that your remarks run counter to everything the BCA and the Hague Convention stand for in relation to this case.

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Mark DeAngelis
Bring Sean Home Foundation

Response to the Congressional Debate and comments of Minister Paulo Vannuchi
United States Embassy of Brazil

Brazilian Federal Court Must Decide This Hague Case

Brazil and the United States have an international agreement about how to handle wrongful retention and wrongful abduction of children from their original countries of residence: The Hague Convention of 1980. Both countries are obliged to make sure that this treaty is enforced.

The U.S. Embassy notes that a case centering on this question is currently before the 16th Federal Court in Rio and we are respectfully awaiting the decision of that court. Brazil has an independent and professional judiciary. This is not a question that should be decided in the press or the court of public opinion.

The wrongful removal and wrongful retention of children from their homes, and the forced separation of parent and child is unnecessary and cruel. The United States has facilitated the return of seven children to Brazil since The Hague Treaty entered into force between our two countries. We call on the office of the Secretary of Human Rights to support the return of all children wrongfully removed and wrongfully retained in Brazil.

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