State Department Expected to Raise Pressure in Int’l Child Abduction Cases

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In a prior posting titled International Child Abduction: Advocates Want Pressure, we highlighted the problem of international child abduction that appears in many child custody cases across the nation. The posting discussed the frustration that many parents of abducted children felt with the U.S. State Department. The parents felt that the State Department failed to give adequate attention to the problem and refused to put significant pressure on Japan and India, two non-signatories of the Hague Convention, an international treaty that helps facilitate the return of children wrongfully removed from their country of residence by a parent.

The United States State Department responded to the outcry in late December. The agency said that parents and advocates could expect a “surge” in the level of attention given to the problem that despite criticism, the agency cares deeply about.

“This is a hard job – we don’t get as many successes as we want,” admitted Stephanie Eye, the chief of the State Department’s Easter Hemisphere abductions division when talking about international child abduction.

She said that although Japan has not made a commitment to sign the convention, partially because of a differing cultural belief that only one, generally the mother, has custody after a divorce. There is still hope, she said as she mentioned the progress made in other parts of Asia, including an announcement made by Singapore that they will become a party to the Hague Convention and South Korea’s elusion to an indication to follow suit.

Eye also revealed the department’s hope that Tokyo would sign the Hague Convention as she discussed the impact that making Tokyo a signatory would have on other holdouts such as the rest of Japan and India. “We’re seeing a lot of movement,” she said. “We’re waiting for someone to stand out and be a leader.”

Source: The Japan Times “U.S. may up child custody pressure” David Carry 12/23/10

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