[ View the story "Kidnapped by a parent" on Storify] Kidnapped by a parent What are the challenges of solving international child abductions?
The Stream· Wed, Sep 11 2013 11:12:33
On social news site Reddit,
describes the experience of being abducted by a parent.
My mother kidnapped me when I was 2 and 1/2, I'm 17 now, and my father went through hell to get me back. The effect of my mother's choice to abduct me has definitely influenced my relationship with her and my entire family. For years, I had trust issues and I still struggle with it to this day. Children should never be put in this situation, EVER.reddit.com
In 1980, nations signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction that says the
interests of children
"are of paramount importance in matters in relating to their custody". As of 2013,
countries are signatories to this treaty. The objectives of the conventions are:
a) to secure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in any Contracting State; and b) to ensure that rights of custody and of access under the law of one Contracting State are effectively respected in the other Contracting States.hcch.net
Japan's parliament recently
the convention, with domestic laws specifying implementation. This comes after intense international pressure on the country to change how Japanese courts deal with international child custody cases.
Bring Abducted Children Home (
) is an American organisation that raises awareness about children who were abducted to Japan and demands their immediate return.
Bring Abducted Children Homebringourkidshome
Critics say the country does not recognise court orders from nations and thus has become a "
" for parental child abductors. BACHome and others described Japan as a "black hole" for abducted children.
Because in the cases that do involve a Japanese parent taking the kids without US court consent back to Japan never to let the foreign parent see them again, Japan is notorious for refusing to recognize the rights of the other parent. That's why they never signed the Hague convention in the first place.jjrs
The Japanese courts don't always ignore/overrule overseas decisions but even when they uphold them, there is no way to effectively enforce them other then play "snatch the child" without causing a scene.chokonen
Canadian father Stephen Watkins went to Poland in 2012 in an effort to
convince Polish courts
to order his sons' return back to Canada. His sons Alexander and Christopher were abducted by Watkin's ex-wife and taken to Poland. Even though
are part of the Hague convention, Watkins was not able to retrieve his sons, as explained in the news report below:
CBC NEWS - Two Canadian Fathers Fighting Poland to Return Abducted Canadian Childrenstephenawatkins
Canada's iCHAPEAU Association
was launched by Watkins and a group of Canadian parents "who are all suffering the effects of a child being illegally abducted". iCHAPEAU, which stands for International Child Harbouring & Abduction Prevention Enforcement Act Under-Law, aims to
fight parental child abductions
and acts as a support group for parents.
This Twitter user said that parental child abduction is sometimes justified depending on the situation.
@AJStream At times it is justified for a parent to do so. I know of a lady whose husband was an alcoholic. She saved their child. #AJStreamJuzar Noorani
Another said that mothers who kidnap their children tend to do so to flee domestic abuse.
One user replied:
@RebelUK2013 @MomKidnappedMe Keeping a child from father because relationship has failed is damaging. & child will know truth when older.victoriaisangry
Some parents have taken matters into their own hands. Parents have the option of getting assistance from groups like
ABP World Group
that provides child recovery services. The following video explains:
Parental Abduction - Child Recovery Services - ABP World Groupabpworldgroup
The public service announcement video below warns viewers that child abduction is a crime.
Child Abduction By A Parent Or Family Member Is A Crime - PSA 2012Laughing Cat Films - Louis Ekrem
"It may be counterproductive because we do have a very high success rate; most of those 200 children abducted each year are returned - they are usually returned as a result of mediation,"abc.net.au
Why do you think cross-border abduction disputes are difficult to resolve? Tell us your thoughts.