International child abduction still a real problem: Part 2

Two days ago this blog looked at the problems surrounding international child abduction by a parent, but focused on Japan. However, as was mentioned, Japan has at least expressed an interest in signing the 1980 Hague Convention, however, India is proving even more difficult to work with as the country’s concern is to keep the child in India.

According to the Washington Post article that focused on child abduction, India has shown no signs of signing the convention, which would greatly impact the outcome of a child being sent to go live back with the parent that actually was awarded child custody in the United States.

Vishnu Prakash, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman instead told The Associated Press that India had no comment on the entire issue of international abduction.

And according to the State Department, if a child has been abducted to India, there is little the custodial parent can do as the Indian courts hardly ever recognize U.S. custody orders, and prefer to actually keep the child with whatever parent wants to stay in India.

One 45-year-old San Diego father knows the heartache and difficulty first hand. In 1990 his ex-wife had taken his then 6 month old child back to India, and he didn’t get to see his son until he was 18. Even though he won a civil case against his ex-wife in 2001 there was nothing he could actually do to see his son.

While there has been no mention of India agreeing to sign the Hague Convention, there have been talks of U.S. leaders attempting to create strong sanctions against those countries that refuse to sign. Specifically, Chris Smith, a representative from New Jersey, plans to become chairman of a subcommittee that oversees human rights issues, and then use his power to pass a bill that would create an Office on International Child Abductions within the State Department.

“We need the full weight of the federal government behind each and every one of these left-behind parents,” Smith said.

Source: The Washington Post, “Japan, India pressed to curb child abductions,” David Crary, 7 Dec 2010

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