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United States Senate Takes Hard Line Against International Parental Child Abduction
The I CARE Foundation applauds the United States Senate’s passage of Senator Barbara Boxter’s Senate Resolution 543, the ‘International Parental Child Abduction Resolution’.
Senator Boxter first introduced to the Senate Resolution on August 2nd, 2012. The renowned child advocate, Senator Boxter, stated during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Business Meeting presided over by Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) that, “The International Parental Child Abduction Resolution condemns the abduction of a child by one parent to another country. It also calls on our nation and the international community to do more to resolve current and future abduction cases.” Senator Boxter also stated she “Introduced this resolution to help shine a light on child abduction and to urge immediate and sustained action to address it.”
According to recent studies and published reports by the I CARE Foundation, the number of actual international child kidnappings originating from the United States over the next ten years is expected to exceed over 100,000 children and cost the economy billions of dollars.
Senate Resolution achieves many things child abduction prevention advocates and targeted parents of abduction have been hoping would be accomplished for years: not only does the resolution clearly condemn international child abduction, but it directs various government agencies to review existing policies that have failed our nation’s children, revamping and reforming existing protocol so the growing epidemic of child kidnappings will end.
I CARE Foundation Founding Director Peter Thomas Senese stated, “I am thrilled that Senate Resolution 543 was streamlined by the Senate. Senator Boxter has a long history of protecting children. Sadly, as the number of international child kidnappings has come to light, combined with our understanding and acceptance that these cases against defenseless American children are criminal acts of conspired, heavily abusive acts of kidnapping that create incredible short-term and long-term hardship for the innocent child, today it is more evident than ever before that swift and immediate change in how these kidnapping cases must be handled. Clearly, one of the most important messages that could make change today is in ongoing abduction prevention litigation. It is my belief, and it is a message the I CARE Foundation has shared with all of our attorneys, that Senate Resolution is in fact a siren call to all judges overseeing an abduction prevention case that these cases are real, are not to be treated as child custody cases –because they are not – they are potential conspiracy to kidnap cases – and must be treated this way.
“Equally impressive is that Resolution 543 has teeth in that it calls for the review of how our federal agencies assist targeted children and parents. By calling to “review the advisory services made available to United States citizens by the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Justice, and other United States Government agencies”, the Senate Resolution 543 is not only clearly identifying but acknowledging that the existing agencies charged with protecting our nation’s children need to be overhauled in that there is a need to provide OCI with more power to act on behalf of kidnapped children. Surely, when this definitive review is conducted, there will be a clear disposition that OCI is underfunded, understaffed, and given limited power, which means as part of the Department of State, it is underutilized. Outward, the resolution calls for countries who are not members of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Abduction to become complying members of the international treaty. Presently, nations including Japan, India, and Egypt are not members of the international treaty, and few, if any children ever abducted to these nations ever are returned to the United States. Passage of SR 543 is an outstanding achievement.”
Carolyn Vlk, who is a Board of Director member of the I CARE Foundation and a Special Advisor to the Amber Watch Foundation added, “One of the most important messages of Senate Resolution 543 that I hope will transcend into the courtroom where the battlefield of abduction prevention is presently taking place is that judges who are presiding over these type of cases will realize just how serious these matters are, how difficult it is for a parent to recover their child, and how carefully plotted and schemed an actual abduction plan is. The key to protecting children from kidnapping is to not let them be stolen to begin with. I am very pleased to know that the resolution specifically calls for criminal extradition of kidnappers. I am also pleased to know that a review of government agency responsibility and interaction, such as those conducted by the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, will take place. The passage of Senate Resolution 543 is a very powerful step in the right direction.”
New York based attorney and I CARE Board member Joel Walter added, “I speak on behalf of the Board of Directors of the I CARE Foundation as well as our large number of lawyers in the foundations attorney network, when I say we are loudly applaud the Senate and all Senators who have made the passage of Resolution 543 possible. In streamlining the passage of 543, many much-needed and positive messages have been sent, including a clear green-light signal for child advocate organizations such as the I CARE Foundation to move forward on an assortment of federal legislative initiatives that will help protect children from this terrible fate of abduction. And that is exactly what the I CARE Foundation’s next step is: to move forward on additional new legislative initiatives that we have been working on over the past year."
Senator Barbara Boxer said, “I am so proud that today (Tuesday evening, December 4th, 2012) the Senate took a stand to condemn the tragic and devastating crime of child abduction,” Senator Boxer said. “This resolution is a resounding call to the international community to join together to prevent and resolve abduction cases.”
Sentiment from several key United States Senators demonstrates a reshaping of Congress’ view on international parental child abduction with intent to act.
“International child abduction is a tragic situation that impacts not only the parents who are left behind but also the children who have been illegally separated from them and denied any contact,” Senator Lugar said. “Bringing greater attention to this issue is important if we are to change other governments' attitudes to these abductions.”
“International child abductions aren't faceless crimes, they're real and they're tragic,” Senator Kerry said. “The United States must condemn international abductions and work to resolve them. The international community must stand up and do all it can to make this right."
New Jersey Senator Lautenberg said, “We need to gain the support of countries around the world in condemning this practice and agreeing to cooperate in the return of abducted children. This resolution will help us prevent these tragedies in the future."
To read an analysis of Senate Resolution 543, including the resolution, please visit the I CARE Foundation’s website. http://www.stopchildabduction.org/