The Philippines and The Hague …


August 14, 2015

Source: Inquirer

As a mother and grandmother, ensuring the safety, health and happiness of my children and grandchildren is paramount. As special advisor to the Office of Children’s Issues, I seek the same for all children across the world, especially those who are victims of international parental child abduction.

Abducted Philippines

The mission of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is to protect the world’s most vulnerable citizens, its children, from the harmful effects of international parental child abduction, by securing the prompt return of a child who has been abducted from or retained outside their country of habitual residence, in violation of custodial rights.

The clear international consensus on the Convention’s benefits is demonstrated by the more than 90 countries that have joined the growing Convention community. Historically, parties to the Convention were concentrated primarily in Europe and the Western Hemisphere; however, this has changed as more countries in East Asia and the Pacific have taken a stance to uphold its principles. I am proud that the United States stands with this impressive group of countries, which includes Sri Lanka, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, South Korea, Japan and Singapore. It is my sincere hope that it will not be long before the Philippines unites with this group of nations.

Parental Abduction Philippines

With 10 million overseas Filipino workers and the rise of binational marriages, the Convention’s importance for the Philippines and its citizens cannot be more relevant or urgent. It is no longer unusual to know an aunt, neighbor, friend, colleague, uncle, sister, or cousin who has had a child abducted to a foreign country. If you do know someone, my next question may be difficult: Did that child ever return to the Philippines?

The reality is that since the Philippines is not a party to the Convention, it is not uncommon for abduction cases to remain unresolved for years, resulting in an often prolonged and painful separation between children and their parents. Filipino parents currently have limited remedies to seek the return of their children from abroad; this is why joining the Convention now is of the utmost importance.

The United States stands by the Convention; we have sent four US delegations to the Philippines in the last six months to offer information and technical assistance. I recently led a delegation to Manila in June and held productive meetings with the secretaries of the Departments of Justice and of Social Welfare and Development, senior-level officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs, and three senators, to discuss the Convention’s mutual benefits to children who are Filipino or US citizens. The near-universal support for Philippine accession moved me.

I applaud the consistent efforts of the Philippine government in the last two years to actively engage in multilateral dialogues on the Convention. The road to accession may present some challenges, but I know the Philippines is capable of overcoming them. My confidence is rooted in the knowledge that the Philippines, like the United States, places a high priority on and is committed to protecting its citizens across the globe.

Accession is well within reach. The Philippines is already a model for good practices relating to the implementation of The Hague Adoption Convention and has the potential to expand its role as an instrumental leader in the region by acceding to and effectively implementing The Hague Abduction Convention. I urge the Philippines to seize this significant opportunity. Our citizens and, most importantly, our children, deserve it.

Ambassador Susan Jacobs is special advisor for children’s issues at the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

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4 thoughts on “The Philippines and The Hague …

  1. My daughter has been abducted by her mother and been 4 years.
    I am Canadian so as my daughter. The mother is Moroccan and managed to kidnap my daughter flew to Morocco. The mother also managed to divorce me from there in her country one year after she abducted my daughter. My daughter was born in Qatar where I live and work. We were were married for more than five years and were happy together but I did not know that she had a bad plan to extort me and abduct my child after 10 month of her birth.
    The law in Qatar could get back my daughter nor did my lawyer in Morocco.
    I truly seek your help to get back my daughter at any cost as I have not heard of her since she was kidnapped and don’t know where she is kept or with in Morocco.

    I am devastated with a broken heart and have been deprived from seeing or hearing my daughter’s voice all those years.

    Please help me and help my daughter to bring her back to live a decent and secured life with her father.

    Ahmad Draz

  2. If the Philippines does become a signatory to the Hague Convention, it needs to be a commitment that holds out more than false hope to the many parents of children who are abducted to countries that simply do not comply with the international obligations that come with becoming a signatory.

    Unless the Philippines judiciary and the Philippines government are free from corruption & nationalism when applications are made for the return of abducted children, as well as free from manipulation by unscrupulous abducting parents and their lawyers when these matters go before the courts, their accession to the Convention will be meaningless and nothing more than just another form of cruelty towards the abducted children and their Left Behind Parents.

    Unless other signatory countries like the USA are prepared to use powers such as those contained within the US Goldman Act to enforce compliance in these countries, nothing will change. Signing the Hague Convention is one thing, action by the signing state and the other members states is another.

  3. Good luck to you in reuniting with your daughter someday, Ahmad. My son went through a very, very similar situation with his daughter when she was 4 yrs old and was initially separated for 20 months. It is truly heart breaking, frustrating, and painful. There are many times when you may feel so drained, helpless, and hopeless. We weren’t aware of this group when this occurred almost 6 yrs ago, and I’m just now learning about it. It’s promising to see more attention and awareness being brought to this issue. At this time I can only offer you my prayers. You are not alone. Stay strong and never lose hope.

    Dana

  4. Pingback: Year-long kidnapping saga back in court in January | Parental Kidnapping and Abduction. We Can Help Recover your Child

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