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"Expect a Surge" State Department Says of Pressure on Int'l Child Abduction

In a prior post titled Georgia Father Begs for Pressure on India to Join Hague Convention, we highlighted the problem of international child abduction that arises in many child custody cases across the nation. Parents and advocates have vehemently criticized the United States State Department for placing a lack of emphasis on the need to pressure countries like India and Japan, two of the most notorious non-signatories to the international Hague Convention that facilitates the return of children wrongfully removed from their country of residence by one parent.

As the shift in control of Congress's House of Representatives takes place today, Republican Rep. Chris Smith hopes to become chairman of a subcommittee that oversees human rights issues. He has been the largest advocate for a bill that would created a separate Office on International Child Abductions within the State Department which could devote all of its resources to international child abduction cases.

Parents hope that with the ringing in of the new year, the State Department would make good on its late December 2010 promise to parents to "expect a surge" in the pressure and attention given to these cases. "This is a hard job," said the chief of the State Department's Eastern Hemisphere abductions division, "we don't get as many successes as we want."

Eye said that although the job is difficult, there is hope in the future that significant changes will be made. In evidence of that hope, she reminded people about Singapore's announcement that they will sign the Hague Convention as well as South Korea's indications that they would follow suit. "We're seeing a lot of movement," she said. "We're waiting or 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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