April 20, 2016
Washington, Apr 20: Parents of abducted kids, including Indian-Americans, will converge in the US capital this week to meet lawmakers and hold a candle light vigil near the White House to seek justice for their children some of whom are allegedly taken to India following their kidnapping.
Parent-led groups ‘Bring Our Kids Home’ and ‘Coalition to Stop International Parental Child Abduction’ will reach out to lawmakers to advocate the US and foreign governments, including that of India, to address the growing issue of International Parental Child Abductions, a report said.
Each year over 1,000 cases of American children abducted to other nations are reported and many more go unreported. “India is the top non-Hague signatory destination of child abductions from the United States and top three overall from the US,” the report said yesterday.
Last year, the US State Department cited India as one of the 22 nations showing patterns of non-cooperation in resolution of child abduction cases originating from America. “This is the second year we will be participating in advocacy efforts along with other parent groups from all over the United States,” said Ravi Parmar, one of the parents whose kid has been abducted to India. “We want to impress upon our governments that parental child abduction is not a ‘child custody’ issue, and just because a parent wrongfully removes their children from the United States, it does not make it right,” he said. “India does not recognise parental child abduction as a crime, despite decades of evidence that show the detrimental impact on victimised children and left behind families, children rights groups, and legal experts urging India to do so,” he added.
The coalition will conduct a Congressional briefing for on April 20, urging legislative changes to address gaps in the US laws and enhancing Congressional oversight on key Federal agencies, including the US Justice Department for its failure to fully implement the International Parental Child Kidnapping Crime Act, which makes parental child abduction a federal felony.
Later in the evening, the parent-led coalition will hold a Candle Light Vigil at the White House, to urge Obama to intervene and seek cooperation from nations, including India, who have shown patterns of non-cooperation in return of abducted American children, the statement said. On April 22, Bring Our Kids Home will join other coalition partners on the 3rd annual Embassy Walk in Washington, DC for a peaceful march to protest the lack of concerted action by foreign governments where US children have been abducted to.
It will also meet with Indian embassy officials to discuss updates since their last meeting in November 2015 and make a humanitarian appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting urgent action to give left behind parents in the US access to their abducted children in India.