India: Ministry of WCD seeks suggestions issues related to civil aspects of “International Child removal”


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NEW DELHI: The ministry for women and child development has put out in the public domain a “concept note” on issues related to civil aspects of International Child Removal. A multi member committee led Chairmanship Justice Rajesh Bindal, Judge Punjab and Haryana High Court was set-up in February to study all aspects of the matter pertaining to Hague Convention on Child Abduction in detail and make its recommendation. Before it gives the final report the Committee has sought suggestions on the concept note and the various concerns raised by July 31.

The report once ready will steer further deliberations of the WCD ministry to recommend to the government of India on whether India should ratify the Hague convention and if it does how to ensure that the rights of the parents and child are not compromised in any way.

The Ministry in a press statement issued on Tuesday pointed that with the rise in trans-national marriages and complexities involved in modern day relationships, the protection of rights of parents and children involved is a critical issue of National and International importance.

The Committee has said in the concept note that “the instances of an Indian citizen marrying an NRI or a person of Indian origin having citizenship of a foreign nation, popularly referred to as ‘transnational marriages’ are frequent and in abundance”. “However, many a times, it so happens that the spouses fall apart and the marriage breaks down irretrievably. In many such cases, the spouses return to the net of their families/extended families in India, seeking mental comfort for themselves and their children. However, such instances often land such estranged spouse in a situation of being perceived as abductors of their children in light of The Hague convention provisions,” it is pointed.

The Committee has further stated that “in another situation where both the spouses may be Indians, residing in India, one of the spouses may move out of India along with the child born out of such wedlock after breakdown of marriage. In such situation, the issue of getting the child back from the foreign land assumes importance, in the process of redressing the grievance of the left behind spouse”.

 “In such cases, the signatory countries of the Hague convention can avail access to the Central authorities of the other contracting states to resolve such issues. Another factor that deserves consideration, is that many a times, on account of the broken marriages, often the complaint of child abduction is alleged against each other by the estranged spouse, to settle their personal scores,” it is explained in the concept note.

In the backdrop the Committee states that “since the matter is likely to have large scale ramifications, it is desirable and in the fitness of things to put the same in public domain and invite suggestions from various quarters.” The Committee may even hold meetings with different stake-holders. The committee has sought suggestions which may be sent by e-mail to the Committees Member Secretary, Meenaxee Raj.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty on custodial issues of children. The Convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to ensure their prompt return.

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India: Govt may propose caveat to Hague treaty on child abduction


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The Centre is deliberating on proposing a caveat to the Hague convention dealing with international child custody issues to secure the rights of NRI women. The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) on Tuesday sought suggestions from all stakeholders on the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980) as part of a concept note on its website. The deadline for submissions is July 31, a ministry official said.

“Our mandate is to suggest changes to the law so that it is more suitable to the Indian situation. When a victim of domestic abuse returns to India from abroad, we should not ask her to go back,” said a member of a committee set up by the ministry. The Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child abducted by a parent from one member country to another.

India had refused to ratify the convention in the past, arguing that it would have mandated the government to send back women, who have escaped bad marriages abroad and brought their child along with them to India, to the country of their husbands’ residence. The concept note by the WCD ministry has been prepared by the committee set up to look into trans-national custody issues and deliberate upon a 2016 draft law prepared by the ministry– the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016.

“The (committee) has to look into all aspects of the (Hague) Convention and figure out how to modify the treaty to address Indian concerns,” a ministry official said, adding that India was unlikely to sign the convention in its current form. The Hague Convention came into force in 1983 to ensure that any child ‘wrongfully’ removed or retained from the ‘habitual residence’ is returned. Under this, the burden of proof rests with the “abducting parent”, who is required to provide “clear and convincing evidence” of abuse of the child.

Countries like the USA and UK are signatories to the the convention. Though the Japanese government deliberated for years about signing the convention, it finally inked the pact in 2014 with a caveat that children exposed to adult domestic violence would be considered at “grave risk” in that country. This could set a precedent for India and other countries.

NRI women have opposed the convention saying that most of them have had to flee foreign lands to escape abuse and violence. The WCD committee member said that the panel was deliberating on certain terminologies like “child’s habitual residence” in the convention and seeking to redefine them in the Indian context.

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‘Asia’s sexiest DJ’ awaits judge’s decision in abduction case


June 24, 2016

Source: New York Post

A Brooklyn federal judge is expected to decide the fate of “Asia’s Sexiest DJ”-turned-embattled mom in the next few days, he said Wednesday at a hearing over her extradition.

sexydj-Angie-Vu-Ha

A lawyer for brunette stunner Angie Vu argued she should be released on a writ of habeas corpus — and not shipped to France, where she faces child abduction charges — because she didn’t break any laws.

“Her intent was to proceed in court to exercise her parental right,” said Mia Eisner-Grynberg.

Vu, 32, has been locked up at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since November, when she was arrested at Kennedy Airport trying to board a flight to China with her daughter after losing a custody battle with the girl’s father.

Vu has argued that the girl’s father, Richard Froger, illegally obtained custody of their daughter — and argued in court Wednesday that she is victim of a double standard.

“They fail to apply the same law to him,” said Vu, dressed in navy blue and white scrubs. “He took my daughter to France for seven months. He did all of that without parental rights.”

But Judge Frederic Block told her: “These arguments would best be made in front of a French court,” and said he’d have a decision on her case in the next “couple of days.”

In February, Brooklyn federal Judge Viktor Pohorelsky signed off on Vu’s extradition, which has been tied up since March when she appealed.

At the Wednesday hearing, prosecutors said Vu should be placed in French custody because there was a court order for her to return the girl to dad Richard Froger.

“She knew of the court order. There is no dispute she failed to follow the court order,” prosecutor Ryan Harris said.

The Vietnamese-born Vu could face about three years in French prison, the lawyers speculated.

Vu, who’s appeared in Playboy, has amassed a huge following spinning records around the globe.

Many of her supporters and pals have filed letters to Judge Frederic Block, who is overseeing the appeals case, in a bid to get her released.

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United States Partners With Thailand Under Hague Abduction Convention


April 2, 2016

Source: newsroomamerica.com

On April 1, 2016, the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention) will enter into force between the United States and Thailand. The United States now has 74 partners under the Convention.

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The Convention is a valuable civil law mechanism for parents seeking the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside their country of habitual residence by another parent or family member. Parents seeking access to children residing in treaty partner countries may also invoke the Convention. The Convention is critically important because it establishes a legal framework between partner countries to resolve parental abduction cases. The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, which serves as the Central Authority for the United States under the Convention, welcomes our partnership with Thailand and looks forward to continuing to work with Thailand on this critical issue.

For more information about international parental child abduction, please visit: http://travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en.html.

For press inquiries, please contact CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov or (202) 485-6150.

The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/04/255408.htm

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Complaint to President of the European Parliament about office of international child abductions


February 11, 2016

Source: familiefamilienrecht.wordpress.com

Subject: Parents complaint about the mediator’s office for cases of international child abductions

Dear President Martin Schulz,

Dear President Pittella,

Dear President Weber,

Dear Vice-Presidents,

I am a European citizen and a parent, among the many others signatories of this letter, whom requested assistance to the Office of the Mediator for cases of international child abductions.

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I appeal to your political consciousness and I rely on your authority in order to take adequate action toward the scandalous conduct of the current Mediator for cases of International Child Abduction, Mairead McGuinness, who is abusing the delicate Role she has been delegated to, for the sole purpose of her personal political propaganda but who has proven not to have any interest in our children and not and not up to perform conscientiously and with competences her role.

Mairead-McGuinness

In particular, as EU citizens and parents whom dealt directly with the Office, We would like to point out that the only person who showed competence and dedication to the cause and who served with the utmost professionalism and humanity all our cases, is Simona Mangiante, who assisted us egregiously. She proved to be very competent in the field, being beyond an official of the European Palriament a qualified international lawyer and lastly legal Advisor of ‘Ombudsman’s office.

Ms Simona Mangiante, who was dedicated to our cases for a long time (she is aware of all of the intricate details of international legal cases that affect us), has recently informed us that she can no longer take care of our cases because MsGuinness removed her from the function !!!

Let me say that it is outrageous !!! The only person working with competence and dedication is removed from the function? How is it explained?

As parents we are lost now, as we keep receiving “formal” and empty” answers from the same Office and we lost our reference, Simona Mangiante, because of an arbitrarious decision of Ms McGuinness?

Are you aware of the impact of depriving us of the assistance of the person who is following us with great competence and dedication since years? Which is the contribute of Ms McGuinness, other then using this role as an “honor” to exhibit?

Ms McGuinness evidently has no substantial interest in the office, otherwise she would be aware of the essentiality of Ms Mangiante for all of us and that without Ms Mangiante the service apparently does not exist at all!!

At the light of the above, we would like to stress the following:

Why the European Parliament advertise on the internet a service as sensitive as the one offered by the Office of the Mediator for cases of international child abductions, without then being capable of ensuring the continuity in this service? This is criminal Why the European Parliament leaves to the discretionally of the political representative the power to remove essential qualified people of the administration, as Simona Mangiante, to replace them with unqualified people, such as the woman who is now replacing Ms Mangiante? Why you would remove a qualified professional already working on our cases since years? Therefore We urgently ask: – to reintegrate Simona Mangiante in this service to remove Ms McGuinness from the role of Mediator. We are sure there are many better politicians, among you to represent the Office of the Mediator.

 

Best regards,

Marco Di Marco

Richard M.Holmes

Roberto Nocciolini

Andrea Tonello

Alessandro Avenati

Luigi Renato Zardo

Salvatore Basile

Volpe Liberato

Andrea Cavalcanti

Leonardo Rassu

Hartmut Buchholz

Thomas Karzelek

Anatol Jung

Uwe Mertens

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Mexican parents’ right over son lands in Knoxville federal court


January 1, 2016

Source: knoxnews.com

An international battle over the alleged parental abduction of a Mexican boy is playing out in a federal courtroom in Knoxville.

Mexican-American-Child

The case involves the Hague Convention, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Mexican government, Facebook, Knox County Juvenile Court, Chief U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan, a Mexican father, a Mexican child and a Mexican mother illegally living in Knoxville.

PDF: Temporary restraining order ruling

The basics as outlined in court records are these: Eugenio Garduno Guevara and Alma Soto Soto had a baby boy out of wedlock in Mexico in 2010. For three years, the couple lived together and jointly raised the boy. In March 2013, the parents split up, but the father didn’t go far. He insists he continued to visit the boy and provide financial support. A month later, the boy and his mother disappeared.

Since then, Guevara has been on the hunt for his son, engaging Mexican police and the Mexican government, scouring Facebook and, ultimately, invoking the Hague Convention of 1980 on international child abduction and engaging the State Department and the U.S. judicial system.

Two years later, Guevara finally found mother and son via a photograph posted on Facebook, showing Soto and the boy at the Wichita Falls Park in Wichita Falls, Texas. He notified the State Department, which sent Soto a letter in April to the Wichita Falls home of her brother. The letter advised Soto about the provisions of the Hague Convention invoked by Guevara that require the return of the boy to Mexico.

Soto and the boy again disappeared, according to court records. The pair resurfaced — on paper, at least — in late May when Knoxville attorney Tom Slaughter filed a petition in Knox County Juvenile Court seeking to establish custody of the boy by the mother and listing an address for mother and son on Suburban Road in Knoxville.

The petition did not allege either were here legally and instead also invoked the Hague Convention’s international child abduction provisions. Slaughter argued the Hague Convention tenets don’t apply anymore because the boy has “habitually resided in the United States with (Soto) for over two years” and, therefore, is no longer a resident of Mexico subject to the international child abduction agreement, by which the U.S. and Mexico agreed to be bound.

Slaughter contended in the petition Guevara did not financially support his son when the parents split as Guevara insists — although the separation had spanned only a month when mother and child disappeared. He sought child support on behalf of Soto.

Child Recovery Services

The State Department once again stepped in, serving notice on Knox County Juvenile Court of the father’s claims under the Hague Convention and provisions of the agreement that usurp the court’s authority. A Memphis law firm specializing in immigration issues then filed a federal complaint in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Dec. 11 seeking emergency action to bar the mother from again fleeing with the boy and a finding by Varlan that the boy must be returned to Mexico.

Read: The Hague Convention is not enough to recover your child

Earlier this week, Varlan issued a temporary restraining order against the mother and ordered the Marshals Service to track her down and serve her with all the court records filed in the federal case so far, including a notice that she and the boy are required to appear in his courtroom Jan. 12 for a hearing.

“Based upon the allegations in the verified complaint, the court finds there is a risk that defendant could continue to conceal the child’s location, and thus (father Guevara) will likely be irreparably harmed in the absence of the requested relief to maintain the status quo,” Varlan wrote.

Noting it is unusual for the court to issue a restraining order before Soto has been located and the father’s complaint formally served on her, Varlan cited as just cause the danger Soto would flee once informed of the federal court action. That flight risk also serves as the basis of his justification in turning to the Marshals Service for help.

“Notice would defeat the purpose of the relief plaintiff seeks,” Varlan wrote. “The court finds that the risk that defendant may leave the jurisdiction once she has notice of plaintiff’s verified complaint warrants issuing a (temporary restraining order) without notice.”

The Marshals Service, although primarily known for its fugitive-hunting duties in criminal cases, plays many lesser-known roles in the federal court system. The agency, for instance, is a key player in the civil process of seizing property and goods acquired through illegal means. But it is rare for the agency to be tasked with serving court records in a lawsuit between private parties.

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Lawyers in child abduction cases advise parents to put travel bans on children


October 12, 2015

Source: The National

DUBAI // Lawyers in child abduction cases are advising parents to apply for travel bans on their children, to stop them being taken overseas to live if relationships break down.

Lawyers Child Abduction Parental Kidnapping

The ban is being used more often by parents who fear their spouses could take the children out of the country without warning.

“Michael”, a Briton who moved to Dubai five years ago with his wife and two children, aged 11 and 8, has not seen them for a year after his former wife took them for a trip home.

“My wife was on holiday in the UK and messaged me to say she was not coming back,” he said. “She was keeping the children and filing for divorce.

“I was shocked and bewildered. It felt as if the ground had fallen away beneath my feet.

“The fact that she didn’t speak to me and just planned it behind my back is what hurt the most. The one thing I regret is not seeing the signs and putting something in place.”

The incident was reported to Interpol because the children were no longer in UAE jurisdiction.

“If anyone is going through any kind of relationship problem and there are children involved, I would strongly advise getting a travel ban as a safety net,” Michael said.

He was granted custody of the children after the divorce was finalised, and expects to be reunited with them in Dubai within a couple of months.

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Steps to take if you think your spouse is planning to leave the country with your child or children:

• Act quickly and obtain any evidence that you have of your suspicions, ie, messages, emails, Facebook, etc, and have this translated into Arabic.

• Appoint and provide a lawyer with all the evidence and documents. The lawyer will in turn make an application to the local UAE court for a judge to apply a travel restriction on the child/ren to prevent them from leaving the country; they will be stopped at immigration in any UAE airport.

• Your lawyer can contact the local court and make an emergency application for a custody order based on your concerns. The court will then contact your spouse to discuss the matter further and refer the matter to a judge to review the evidence and the concerns of the parent and impose an order.

• Speak to your and your spouse’s local embassy or consulate to report your concerns and also provide them with any evidence that you have and any evidence of any court orders/travel bans that you are applying for. The embassy or consulate could possibly ontact the embassy of the country your spouse is from and inform them.

* Source: Alderson and Associates, Dubai

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Parental child abduction is a criminal offence in the UAE, which has the highest rate of divorce in the GCC, Dubai Statistics Centre data shows.

“At least 20 per cent of cases we deal with, or about five a year, are related to child custody and alleged parental child abduction,” said Samara Mir of Alderson and Associates in Dubai, who was trained in UK and UAE law.

“This has suddenly increased over the last six months but it is difficult to say why. If you are concerned that your wife or husband may be threatening to leave the country with a child then you can go to any local court to apply for a travel ban.”

The order requires marriage and birth certificates, and written reasons why there are concerns that a child could be abducted.

A judge could also ask for a Dh50,000 guarantee.

To have the ban lifted, a parent would have to apply to the court with reasons why they need to take the child abroad.

Such cases can leave an emotional mark on families and are often played out in long legal battles.

Anne Jackson, a life coach who offers counselling for people in these situations, has established a support group called Leaves Dubai, where people can share their experiences and offer advice.

“There are so many extra considerations to be taken into account when facing marriage difficulties as an expat,” Ms Jackson said.

“These considerations can lead to many more fears in this situation, which can lead to irrational decision-making.”

There are no statistics for parental child abduction in the UAE, but in the US each year more than 203,000 children, or 78 per cent of all missing children, are abducted by family member, usually a parent.

The UK’s foreign and commonwealth office says mothers were responsible for 70 per cent of abductions of British children globally.

There were 477 British children abducted by parents and taken abroad last year, up from 226 in 2005.

Since 2009, divorces in the UAE have increased by 40 per cent for expatriate couples, 7 per cent for Emirati couples and 25 per cent for Emiratis married to expatriates.

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