tv Capital News Today CSPAN May 27, 2011 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
just -- time is on their side. they will win just by inertia of inaction. is that what you think? >> 100%. time is our enemy and they are adept at stalling and manipulating in keeping these cases going for years until we are emotionally, financially, physically bankrupt. and then we just walk is a dead man walking forever. it is a terrible pain to deal with and to live with. in brazil, it was taking so long for the brazilian authority to even process my case that i had to hire a private attorney. ..
>> he was two when he left. and because i am able to see him by web cam, i know that he knows who i am. he calls me sarah. he doesn't have english so i learned turkish to keep up with him. i'm constantly concerned about losing his attention. i can't put him, can't play with him, can't kick the ball so i'm trying to find new ways all the time to keep him involved. so far i haven't, that the previous statement, i haven't dealt so far with legal what maneuvering but what i strongly believe that even if i win my
case, mohammed is a flight risk, then what? he's going to go somewhere else. and he goes and hides in a village and the family protect him. so the other side of that if someone enforcement, some real political will to say dispersants case was wrongfully ruled or whatever the case is but to follow through on that. knowing where to go next, knowing how this affects the next we have to be able to see this all the way through. i'm not going to wait till he leaves to find him. i'm not going to wait until he leaves to try to prevent it. but thankfully so far that hasn't been the case. i do not know what he says about me. i only imagine that it's very bad things because his family to live known for eight years and left closely turned against me so clearly he is saying something bad. i really try to enjoy my time with my son. i try to only focus on those moments we have because i don't polk and the beast and asked his father what he says.
i don't poke the beast and say what do you think this is doing to our child? i have many questions i would love to ask him and i don't have that chance because it's more important for me to see my son and know that mommy isn't crying and we are happy and having a good time because that is his normal right now. this boy doesn't have a mom. this boy is there a completely separate from half of his life and i don't want to be continually adding to his distress. so it's eggshells. >> my son was 1-years-old when he was taken from mexico and i haven't seen him for two years. provincial alienation wasn't a major concern because it's hard to formulate concept of that is a bad person in a very young child's mind. when my son gets older is a concern i have been following these cases for years now it's something that happens all the time. i just recently saw my son three weeks ago for about 15 minutes
for the first time in two years, and as ms. edwards spoke to, it's, you know, we are really concerned about our children. we want to -- i didn't run and grabbed my son. i haven't seen him for two years. i believe he wouldn't remember me when he saw me. i didn't run and grabbed him, i kind of came up to him and said hi, how're you doing and i asked him what his name was and he looked at me and i was relieved to see that there was a recognition that i was someone important, i was someone he knew even if he didn't know that i was his dad. and they've been teaching him to call his grandfather, father. and i believe that is a very serious piece of parental alienation that's going to be hard to change. so for the time being, i think seeing the reaction my son had, we played about 15 minutes and enjoy ourselves and i think when
they saw that reaction, that empathy that we had, that relationship kind of still existed and the potential for it to grow i haven't been able to see my son since three weeks. i've been in mexico a total of four weeks prior to this hearing, and i saw my son that 15 minutes and they've been completely unresponsive to allow me to see him again and i think it is an effort of parental alienation to at some point people to save the child doesn't know him, he doesn't respond to him, he has no relationship so it is a legal tactic as well as a form of child abuse, frankly. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. goldman, in your letter to secretary clinton and the letter signed by the left behind parents of 117 children, you state that in our experience all
too often, these international child adoption cases to not appear to be addressed aggressively because of the state department effort to maintain harmonious bilateral relations with other countries or to pursue other compelling foreign policy goals. and mr. bermuda, as you alluded to the same thing in your testimony the frustration with the state department. now, i would like to ask the three of you if we were the state department, what is it you want to tell them and what is it you want us to ask of them and tell, so if you could be specific with us, what do you see -- what you want the state department to -- because i disagree with the fact that the state department doesn't work for the american people because they do ultimately. they are to be representing the american people. you are the american people. so i would like to hear from you specifically. what is it that you need and want from the state department's we can have the opportunity to meet those demands of them.
so we need to have this ambassador at large to focus specifically on our and abducted children. we need to have some sort of system where congress, each congressman knows when a child is seductive from their district and they will be the at the kick and get involved in this the department. also the state department needs tools. they should be here begging us for help that they need and have needed for so many years. it shouldn't be anything that we have to introduce and then hope for votes and then hope democrats and republicans will get together to help our children. the state department should be here begging for help and to give the tools they desperately need in their toolbox. [applause] >> and if it has to go all the way of to economic sanctions, it has to go out to economic sanctions. [applause]
>> ms. edwards i have the same question for you. aside from the points that david clough mentioned, one specific is that there should be a way for the state department to correspond with the turkish, excuse become a central authorities in the signature countries, the turkish authorities, and that they should be able to flag people who are subject to a current cases and prevent them from traveling outside during the current case. this is something that can be done and something that should be done. the fact that there is a good possibility mohammed will come back and try to remain his legal residency status and maintain his green card status, he can go in court and do that a couple of days and then go home which
without my son ever coming here and my son having rights to me. but i guess those are the specifics i really would pray for. >> mr. bermuda. >> [inaudible] >> can you turn the microphone on. >> -- interest in foreign countries. i think one of the problems we have with the for an officer is what is it might be called a form of client whether it is
clear they represent foreign countries interest in american or american interests in foreign countries. i think one thing that would be of value to us is to have each applicant at the state department identify where the united states is on the globe to be sure that we know that they know who they are working for. [applause] the other thing i would like them to know is when we want to promote the interest of adopted children we are not asking something that is unpopular. this is something that will be respected for. this is not an irritant. this is something every other country has this problem. we have to look beyond the trees to see the forest. it is a case where if we can lead on this issue this is a human rights issues and let's be
clear about that, contrary to suspending the political capital we will gain political capital. we will have the opportunity to speak with moral authority on other issues and i think that's something that is lacking and our lack of advocacy on this is detrimental to our foreign policy. i think it's it has a negative effect rather than -- >> we are not asking for any favors we are just asking to abide by the rule of law. we don't want favors. it's not a favor to a return abducted children. it is abiding by rule of law. simple. it should be so simple. >> thank you. i appreciate your courage to be here today and to all of the folks in the room think you so much for your willingness to come out and i ask you not to be discouraged. i understand all these hearings this many years later but i think you have a pledge from
these members of congress we are concerned and hold the state department -- we will talk with them and certainly hold them accountable. they do work for the american people and we do pay for their salaries to thank you very much for being here. [applause] >> i want to thank our very distinguished panel ns one yes or no question. it's been said if you say you don't have time he stated a priority haven't stated fact i know david you have spoken to the u.s. ambassador in brazil. it took a long time but i wonder ms. edwards and mr. bermudez have you had contact with the u.s. ambassador? >> absolutely not. >> anything you would like to add before we go to panel member to? thank you so much for your testimony. [applause] five now like to welcome the
second panel and begin unless mr. michael elias a county sheriff in the state of new jersey. united states marine corps and met his wife while stationed in japan in 2000 for 2005. she adopted their two children jay and michael into japan in 2008. through his testimony here we will hear about the challenges that parents whose children are affected in japan face particularly from when they happen to be military personnel. i would note parenthetically earlier this year i traveled with nancy and michael elias, jane and michael's grandparents so michael's mom and dad, to japan, spent several days meeting with high officials in the japanese government, and it was very clear that when they got to make their case they were very empathetic but the question is whether or not the was empathetic years turn into
tangible policy still will permit the return of children who have been abducted to japan. as i said at the outset it needs to be underscored. if there's a mere extension to the hague without the existing ks system will be a grossness character of justice perpetrated upon those american children and those left behind parents. so this committee and i assure members of both sides of the ogle will be. phatic to our friends of japan hear from mr. joshua izzard who is the father of born in chicago illinois in june 18 def 07 -- 2008. she was taken by her mother to russia in october of 2010. he hasn't seen his daughter since september of last year. and has been allowed to even
talk to her since january. and from boston to egypt in august 2009. he remains committed to the safe swift return of his children. i am pleased to have joined barney frank in sponsoring h. res 193 with regards to their particular case. >> thank you, congressman smith and distinguished members of the subcommittee. my name is michael elias and i would like to thank you for all of your opportunities to share with you my personal experience evolving international child auction. i would like to first extend my deepest sympathies to the people of japan affected by the devastation of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. i am a former sergeant of the
united states marine corps from august 2003 to november, 27. i am currently bergen county sheriff and the state of new jersey. while stationed in japan in 2004 to 2005, i met my wife. shortly thereafter i was station did camp lejeune north carolina. she contacted me and informed me that she was pregnant. in september of 2005, she relocated to the united states, and on october 19th, 2005, we were married in an effort new jersey. our first child, jade, was born on june the fifth, 2006 at the naval hospital in camp lejeune. in march of 2007, i was deployed to iraq. on august 2nd, 2007 while i was serving my country, my son, michael was born at hackensack medical center in new jersey. this inspired new levels of patriotism and responsibility
inside of me that will match the wealth of my family and children. while i was deployed, tashi and my children lived with my parents in new jersey. during that time she started a relationship with a japanese national who was her travel agent. when i returned from serving my country and iraq, she, my children and my extended family were all reunited and living together in new jersey. sadly, a few months after my return, we separated. i was then when served with a document from her headlining an agreement for travel and presidency stating that all right, michael elias will allow them to visit japan without any restrictions under any circumstances. if these conditions were not met, i would have to surrender any custody rights. this would also result in a relocation of our two children to japan from the united states
if she liked to do so. the document then stated whether or not any actions is complied with the conditions above are determined must respect the decision at any time also will regardless of the court's decisions he respect the terms stated above. i saw council after she asked me to sign that document that she had already signed on september 26, 2008. on october 29, 2008, before the honorable judge alexandre carper of the superior court of the new jersey i was awarded custody of my children. on that day, george carver clearly ordered three times that the children's passports both american and japanese be turned over to the attorney because she was an obvious flight risk. i did everything i could to
ensure the safety and well-being of my children. i felt confident and had every reasonable expectation in the legal system with the ruling of judge carter and the strength of the united states government that my american-born children would be protected from being kicked out to japan. i was wrong. she was an employee of the japanese consulate in new york city issuing visas and passports. she used her position in the consulate as a tool to carefully collaborate the abduction of our children. she had replacement passports issued in the japanese consulate in chicago where she and her boyfriend and exited the country through chicago's o'hare airport. they carried out the abduction of our children on the japanese airline flight number nine build for tokyo in the airport in japan on december 6, 2008. i still have in my position their original passports. my family and i are horrified and sickened by her actions.
we have repeatedly attempted to contact japanese consulate in new york's chicago, washington, d.c., and continue to receive no corroboration whatsoever. shortly after she arrived in japan, i was contacted by her saying she had unilaterally decided she will raise the children in japan. when explaining to her she had kidnapped our children, she maintained that, quote come it's not kidnapping, my country will protect me. thereafter, it was awarded full custody of her were children here in the united states. the judge also ordered the immediate return of the children to the united states from japan by means of the hague convention. unfortunately, the judge was unaware of japan not being a signatory of the treaty and japan's japan lack of a session, something she seemingly a understood. to date, no child has ever been returned by the japanese government according to the state department statistics. there are 321 documented cases
of a deduction from the u.s. to japan alone. if we include members of american children out that while living in japan, statistics would significantly higher. it is no doubt that these crimes will continue and that the time of our next to a department meeting these figures will have risen more children will continue to be unwillingly and unlawfully abducted. since the abduction i pleaded with her to return our children back to the united states and assuring her that there are no criminal charges pending for fear she will not returned under those conditions. on january 5th, 2010, i was granted the privilege to see my children for skype. as my daughter's fourth birthday. all the was hard to see my children through a monitor, it was satisfying to see them so happy to see me. my daughter looked at her mother in part eight and set her ever so softly something in japanese. when i asked her what she had said, she replied she wants to
be with you. what the monitor immediately went blank. that was the last time that i saw my daughter's face. federick this year my parents flew to japan with the assistance of the united states embassy in tokyo. congressman smith and my attorney patricia tried to contact her to ask if they could visit their grandchildren after countless e-mails and phone calls were ignored the u.s. embassy was able to reach her and she denied any access for my parents. she also told the embassy she was not accepting any of their phone calls. excuse me. needless to say, my parents were devastated but not shocked. the sense of longing for my children can be completely unbearable and crippling at times. it does not get better with time. it only grows deeper and deeper.
along with the sense of hopelessness as a father, who no longer has his children to hold in his arms, i cannot deal with of the sorrow, so i try - to stay strong and fight for their return. all my hopes and dreams for the future now lie in the hands of others. i'm begging our government to not only my family but to help hundreds of other heartbroken families as well, to demand the return of our american children who are being held in japan and in most cases never seen from or heard from again. this goes against everything we stand for as americans, and especially for over children's life and well-being. this is not just a family issue or international issue, this is a human rights issue. ever children are to yondah to speak for themselves. i am expecting our government to
be their voice. in conclusion, i would like to read the names of the following american children abducted and unlawfully detained in japan who are unaccounted for since the earthquake, tsunami an ongoing nuclear disaster. david, joshua gesslman, lucey greenburg shannon, ricky, manuel, married victoria lee,
ask mr. izzard if he could proceed. >> thank you, mr. chairman and members of congress for inviting me to testify today regarding the ongoing tragedy of international parental kidnapping. volume joshua izzard, salles legal guardian. my american born and raised a daughter and only child was taken almost eight months ago to russia whose voice i haven't heard for many months now. i've been living for nearly eight months with a hole in my life while some like mr. tom sylvester in cincinnati ohio whose testimony i read during the preparation of my own and his daughter and others like them have lived with that whole for many years. our great country must stop this
constant of leading of its most important resource, its children. in the interest of other may i say more tangible or natural resources or diplomatic gains. as a nation we need to construct legal mechanisms to facilitate resolution of existing parental kidnapping and put in place effective preventive mechanisms to insure that our citizens are not subjected to this daily unbearable sorrow that comes in the week of international parental kidnapping. i was in rome italy when my decade long partner, the love of my life and the wife of five years and mother of our daughter called to inform me she and my little angel were in russia and would never return, that i would never see my daughter again. in shot buy nearly collapsed on the street. i wrote the first of many letters for my daughter while flying home speeding westward away from her to chicago and my heart seemed as full unwinding.
my life unraveling as the distance between acid group. at home and opened the door to our chicago apartment and overlooking lake michigan in desolation overwhelmed the has the golden afternoon light and faltering for the dead silence of our living room gently touched the circle of my daughter's favorite plays left exactly as she had been pleading with them. daddy's home, only silence, funding silence. initial denial became result to protect my child who now lives in great danger to bring her back to her love and all home. since the kidnapping y offers of compromise and reconciliation have gone unanswered. court orders and decisions ignored and please to at least half phone calls with my daughter and he did. a local arrest warrant has been issued for tatiana. the fbi, interpol, chicago pt, national center for missing and exploited children, stay department and the congressman's offices are all involved.
though the fbi opened case crawls along into the office of children's issue steadfast to inform the fbi how they have been contacting am i fy ex-wife. i've given interviews to u.s. and russian media to simply speak to be to negotiate a solution. she was torn away from me and everyone and everything she had known from birth in one cruel selfish instant by her mother, tatiana, and her grandmother and abruptly plenished into a strange world of darkness, mental illness and physical danger. ..
he is furthermore reported to be a devoted -- which advocates the use of drugs and ritualistic social behavior and forcing women to submit to dominant males. this is precisely what my ex-wife has done. despite not working, tatiana attended two court hearings in russia before signing over her full power of attorney regarding all aspects of our divorce including upbringing in custody to a violent alcoholic whose decisions will impact my daughter's life forever. the role of the russian consulate in the abduction itself and the ensuing legal processes has seen russia make a joke of its own laws and flaunted impunity to the international community. to accomplish the abduction
tatyana turned to the russian consulate in washington d.c. for help. what she said is unknown but she was issued a onetime russian repatriation certificate with our american daughter's name written on it. this document allow her to abduct our daughter a u.s. citizen from u.s. soil and transport her to a non-hague country. imagine the situation if anyone here who travels frequently. too nervous russian women with a bewildered citizen until passing through security and boarding a foreign bound commercial flight in one of america's busiest airports without a passport. without the sign permission of their father. tatyana wrote to thank russian diplomats further certificate issued charlie after the kidnapping. this notice in possession of the fbi. to reiterate, tsa officials accepted a travel document and whoever transports and the air feinberg bind feinberg where do further checks as to why and how
these individuals were boarding an international flight with no passports and no written permission from the other parent. at that very moment the father was happily scouting in rome for presidents to bring back to his beloved family. diplomatic abuse and lack of exit controls and effective screening procedures made this abduction possible. i have many close friends in russia, but sadly it is a country which not only international laws and human rights are for kelly violated that one in which is not follow the letter of its own law. consider the fact that since 2003, russia has unilaterally refuse to observe its duties under the 1965 hague service convention. it will not serve its citizens with divorce papers are legal documents from the united states of america, yet it permits to argue in court that they were not properly serve because the papers were not delivered by hague service convention's the ministry of justice in russia. despite this i was able to satisfy both american and russian process service requirements and went on to win
the american custody case when we were divorced on december 29, 2010. i proceeded to legalize the divorce decision at the russian consulate in washington d.c. and this decision was affirmed by the russian government vital records office in moscow who stated the american divorce was valid from 2010 that it went into effect. now, please prepare yourselves for an entry into a vizard intrigue. russian judge being in possession of the properly served american divorce petition in divorce decision translated into russian allow tatyana to initiate a divorce suit with me as respondent. the first hearing was on january 20, 2011 nearly a month after we were divorced with a decision that the russian state had already -- considered valid. my ex-wife's brother as former head of the legal department of the senate is a person with deep judicial and intelligence service connections.
prime-time specials vilifying me was undertaken. media campaign included public statements and letters by politicians who violated russian constitutional law regarding separation of the political and judicial systems. they both approached judges, they themselves publicly declared so and requested an expedited outcome in favor of the russian mother. politicians former superior runs a live blog in which immediately published an entry about my family title, i am against america. i then received serious threats against my life, so serious that i won't travel lending credibility to my former wives publicized statement that i don't care enough about my.her to visit her. please note mr. chairman there has never mention of the welfare of my daughter, rather it is
russia against america and my daughter a disposal political pawn. the process leading up to my second divorce from my only wife on march 24, 2011 was fraught with bias. legal infractions were numerous. the presiding judge met in private with tatyana's side. evidence was introduced in the court -- court clerks files. decisions consisting of several typed pages were ready within minutes or even seconds of the conclusion of the hearing indicating that they they been prepared beforehand. at one hearing it was claimed to own a half-year-old millicent has said she did not wish to skype with her father and it was argued that it would constitute child abuse to enforce skype visitation. this argument was upheld by russian courts. it was dated i'm currently in russia plotting a ramble like attempt to bring millicent home and was therefore forbidden to travel with my daughter.
my passport proves i've not traveled outside of the united states united states since i was in rome. russian immigration and border patrol are the russian consulate could consulate cook informed that i had not had a russian visa without which it would be impossible to travel since 2007. on march 24, 2011 i was divorced from a person that russia had acknowledged it was not married to and had not been for the preceding three months. during the hearing, 20 procedural norms of the russian code of civil procedure or civil code were broken. tatyana was awarded full custody and another divorce as well as child support which if applied by russian standard would require local fathers to take 80% of his income. a complete list of these violations is available upon request. here's a quick sampling in order of their breaking. i won't enumerate the numbers, being meaningless. however, summary of them is by violating existing russian laws the russian courts provided a legalization of the abduction.
i was never served within a court documents from russia. neither was i love to give testimony or present statements from scores of witnesses willing to testify for me. my ex-wife's only witness, gave mendacious testimony against me including statements that we had spoken in 2011 when in fact the last time i had spoken with this individual was 2009. i was not given time for translation of the document. my lawyer was denied or given delayed access to case materials. my legalized russian court decision and russian governmental proof that i was already divorced were not taken into consideration. a higher court process was ignored by lower courts in the courts refuse to accept and register official evidence. the case was tried in a court which had no jurisdiction because no evidence was presented that millicent could be a russian citizen. my daughter and i were denied
and continued continue to did not contact with each other throughout the course of the proceedings, again explicitly violating russian law. but there is is no macinnis and poor enforcement. so grieves for the violations that 10 days ago on appellate court in russia told my viewpoint overturning the lower court decision in its entirety and sending the case back to the same lower court to be retried by a different judge. my ex-wife and i may soon have the singular distinction of having been married once but divorced three times. however, the appeal was reviewed without notification of my legal counsel, and the second half of the session occurred without him being present as has happened numerous times. and while it decided the many infractions in the overwhelming reason for the overturn of the previous decision, was that no evidence has been presented that millicent is a russian citizen. and so to my surprise, in the
course of this very hearing, at the beginning i was given a fact, a copy of a fax in the russian consulate confirming indeed that my daughter is a russian citizen and furthermore, with the document, which i have never seen before, that there is my signature giving permission to the granting of russian citizenship to my daughter. berry expedient. mr. chairman i contend that my daughter and i have the inalienable right to a full and loving parental child relationship. the russian consulate courts and governments assistance have facilitative violation of my daughters and my right to that most basic human relationship. international diplomacy and one of the most important elements of society, in fact the elemental, the family. the alienation will have
lifelong consequences for millicent and for me and millicent's entire family in the u.s.. i cannot imagine doing to my daughter what is being done to her. i deplore my family's tragedy being politicized and i appeal to russia to look the own political one upmanship and to acknowledge a horrible injustices being done to a little girl who needs her father and to a father and family that love her golden head, sparkly nice and joyous laugh. americans have to take a stance on defending our own -- citizens to the most basic rights and bonds that they have between children and parents burger pray that our testimonies might lead to legislation which would unite all these brief parties which prevents similar situations for their parents and children who might suffer doing to selfless decisions. intervention by government agencies are or are hence typing complete or nonexistent laws and enforcement mechanisms family to one eventuality and one alone, a
non-hague case and as we see many hague cases of child abduction, physical possession of the child with complete control of the situation and of the other parent. this situation must be remedied for our children's future. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. the chair recognizes mr. bower. >> thank you, chairman smith, the honorable committee members thank you for inviting me to testify today. chairman smith thank you very particular for your support of a drizzle and 93 with congressman frank. my children both american citizens were kidnapped and are being held illegally today in egypt by egypt. meanwhile began a a reward teachers by giving them billions of dollars in aid to billions of dollars announced last week. this is wrong. i'm neat definition i call for cessation of any aid to egypt from the united states until they recognize human rights, the
spirit of their own revolution and in doing so return my son norman ramsey bower. norman ramsey now aged 10 and eight were kidnapped to egypt in august 2009 by their mother. in light of her condition, outlined in a drizzle and 93, i have always assumed that parenting responsibilities for my two boys. i woke up with them every day, fed them, clothe them, nature they got to school. i scheduled for them and brought them to their play dates and parties. i bathe them and read to them and i put them to bed. i changed jobs in order to simultaneously support my family financially and act as a de facto single parent. before and after the divorce, i remained the sole legal custodial parent. when i think it today of today and worry about nor and ramses safety and their future quality of life, i wonder what they are being taught. i believe this will determine
what they think and what choices they will ultimately have in life. their futures are being impacted each day and they remain parented by in unfit mother who remains supported by her government and enabled by your family from the abduction to the ongoing support of parental alienation and child abuse. both financially through their family company. my boys are being forced to hide from the rest of the world and i can't imagine what this must be like for them. there are several notable issues involved in this tragedy. first, this is not a custody battle. there was a 20 month court case in boston completed in december 2008 in which both parties participated fully from start to finish including the representative of six separate high-powered u.s. divorce attorneys. this is a federal crime. the fbi issued a federal warrant for the rest including the issuance of an interpol red notice. third, this involves national
security. he obtained egyptian passports for the children and false last names. the passports were in false names and egyptian passports were real. passport fraud which this is, is an extraditable offense under the mutual legal assistance treaty that exist today between egypt and the united states. passports by definition are used to commit crimes in other countries just as in this case. forth, this is child abuse. via supreme court and other international bodies deemed child abduction and parental alienation child abuse. this is not debatable. the fact that he was found to be a long-term addict of scheduled to narcotics and incapable of anticipating in the boys need is at yet another level of child abuse which imperils the boys today. lastly this is a state-sponsored crime. the egyptian government issued false passports. the indirectly owned airline that ignore the obvious legs by
letting him kidnap these boys to each fusing egypt air. and they provided security through the egyptian state security agency, an agency which is now defunct. after the revolution for being corrupt. the egyptian government shut down streets for him to travel, something they don't do for the highest level politicians. there are many things we can do immediately to to protect their children and basic human rights. because time is limited i'm going to focus on five. the first and most obvious given current events, before receiving the two billion-dollar tobacco aid package announced last week egypt must demonstrate direction its commitment to human rights. even the people of egypt who will either benefit or suffer from this aid have spoken about the need to make sure this money does not simply continue the power structure that existed under the now defunct mubarak regime. by fact and definition my children's rights are and have
been abuse for 21 months now. i call on the u.s. government to ensure that the new egyptian government is protecting human rights, not violating them and demonstrates this through the return of norm and ramses. second before receiving aid we need to ensure that they i them live is being enforced by her partners and appropriate extradition is being carried out. this is a national security issue and one that impacts all of us in the united states. we should not provide aid to countries that have been -- enabled crimes to be committed in against our citizens and who did not implement conditions of the law. in agreement can be signed but if it is not enforced, it is worse than having no treaty at all as it allows purveyors of deceits to fly under a false cloak of legitimacy. third, before they receive aid we need countries to agree to recognize and mirror existing probate orders involving custody decisions reached in residential jurisdictions were both parties were active participants and legally represented.
the country harboring the fugitive should issue a mere order consistent with the existing order in the country of the children's primary residence. these are principles, not inconsistent with the hague convention today. forth a call in the republican party to stop the moratorium on resolutions being heard this congress and make available the ability of house resolutions to be heard on the floor, including a notably hrs 193 which is bipartisan and involves the lives of my two little boys. alternatively i ask for exceptions to be made in cases crucial to the lives of american children including my boys and others in similar situations. i asked that both hardy stand together to send a strong message to egypt and other countries that we support the egyptian people's goal of obtaining democracy and human rights by ensuring their new government acts in concert with the saudis before receiving the financial backing of the united states. given the relevant facts, it is not a stretch to say that hrs
193 if acted upon could very well save the lives of nor and ramsey. fifth there must be for the controls in place to protect against the unlawful removal of our children to foreign countries and in my case the divorce judgment did call for a restriction on my ex-wife to remove the children from the commonwealth were such controls in place this removal would not have an. committee members thank you for your invitation to speak today and for your consideration of this most important consideration. [applause] >> thank you for your testimony. i thank each of you for your very specific recommendations and for very carefully delineating your individual heartache because that helps us to get a better handle on what we can do to hopefully be positive in our response as well. i would again note that this is a panel of non-hague countries.
the three if you you of you have had your children at the to to a country that is not signed the hague unlike our first panel, but i wonder if you could, and we will have a series of votes so i will be brief and submit other questions later, but the office of children's issues if you could tell us briefly how well or poorly they have served you and i would encourage you not to worry about retaliation even though that is easier for me to say then you. and if any of the parents know of an instance where someone copped an attitude or worse as a result of your candor, we, as an oversight as well as a lawmaking legislative committee need to know that because we all serve you. i want to say that again with emphasis. i would like to know if each of you have had a phonecall from perhaps the ambassador or any contact with the ambassador in russia, egypt and japan? and also, two of you spoke in
michel elias' case of a passport being issued under fraudulent circumstances. in other words the judge took the original passports and then someone at the consular's office in chicago illinois falsely issued either knowingly or unknowingly, but the japanese government told you that there would be an investigation. what happened that investigation? before you answer, in case of mr. bower, you talked about outright fraud where it is clear with wrong names and violation as you put it of the m. lat. what has been the verse-ounce of our government on that issue and then i will yield to mr. payne for any questions he may have. >> as far as the office of children's issues congressman smith i have not. i have spoken with them directly. i have not gained or lost anything from them so there is no common i can make upon that.
as far as the phonecall from the ambassador from japan i have not received a letter or heard any news of good or bad from him personally. >> briefly, has somebody called you at any time or has it all been away see or what? >> there is that ongoing investigation but for the past almost three years in december that my children have been gone i have not received anything upon an investigation or a call from their embassy directly from chicago or new york. >> mr. izzard, do you and the other left-behind parents whose children have been abducted to japan with the g8 summit shortly to be convened and the anticipated announcement by japan that they may sign the hague of course with reservations, could be catastrophic, how does that make you feel and the other left-behind parents whose kids are in japan? >> as far as citing the hague
convention, i don't see it happening personally. like we discussed before even if they do, there is there's going to be numerous different kind of language in it that would probably prevent me or any other left-behind parent as of right now from being grandfathered in and it would definitely have to be -- i think if we are getting them to sign the hague convention we should sit down and declare what we want in the hague convention and not what they seem as rights be put in just so they can have us off their backs. [applause] >> in your view there would need to be a sidebar agreement, country to country? >> to sit down with them. [applause] >> i would like to answer firstly question regarding oci and how oci has served me.
it has been constant. they have did to welfare and whereabouts visits in russia based entirely upon the information which i had to literally spend a fortune on to actually locate my wife and daughter via private means. however, the office of children's issues has refused to coordinate with the fbi so that the fbi investigation could move forward. the agents i've been working with out of the chicago field office obviously have an open case with a number. however, because of the unusual circumstances that we were not getting divorced when my daughter was abducted, there is a very high bar to clear in order for there to be federal criminal charges. however oci has not provided the relevant information as to how they contact tatyana so the fbi could hopefully get the russians to contact her and get her side of the story.
regarding contact with the embassy or the ambassador, my mother actually assisted me greatly in contacting the embassy in moscow. xi at the time was living in moscow. however, the oci here in washington discouraged us from continuing to do so because they said they would like all communication to be handled directly through the office in washington d.c. even though in my opinion, the people on the ground in russia have a better understanding of the very unique circumstances regarding the way things are done in russia. i think that is all. >> in my case, i've spoken with ambassador scobee and met with ambassador scobee and kai wrote met with ambassador scobee in cairo number of times and almost weekly contact with the consulate general there. i. >> incorrectly communicate with ambassador jacobs.
attention and responsiveness has not been my issue. really, it is ironic in a way that this amount of attention almost takes away from the need to act on either party and i would give up all of this attention for one single act, linear move in the direction of a return and i have not seen that and i think a lot of the diplomatic. >> it's in the way of any activity whatsoever. i would also note that for the record, it is difficult to speak directly about the state department when you believe that the return of your children falls squarely into their hands and to think about being negative in any which way. as a family, as a parent in a situation you do not in any way want to speak out against an entity because they could provide an avenue for the return of your children. regarding the mlat, the state department has filed a request for information.
the assistant u.s. attorney has filed a formal request. senator kerry has sent a letter. i have, as is my right according to egyptian law, filed a request for information regarding the passport documents. all have been summarily denied or ignored and the attorney general's office is continuing to pursue this. they have said to quote the assistant u.s. attorney, they have another arrow in their quiver. i do not know what that means. there has been no precedent set for extradition under mlat from each of. >> mr. payne. >> thank you. thank you offer your testimony. i just wonder mr. elias, being a military person and, do you see these issues perhaps even being more prevalent with members from
our military regardless of where they are serving? >> i see it being more prominent in the military strictly because you are subjected to overseas for long periods of time, and if i could give anything to that, to that question, when you are brought overseas, any country that you go to, being a marine, you are briefed on everything from the number of people that have aids over there to the amount of robberies and you are given classes on how the ocean comes in and hits the shore. out of all those classes i should have been given a class on child abduction or at least -- [applause] i was so young in japan, i was only 19 years old serving my country in japan and i had no idea i would be sitting here before any of you today.
>> it seems like that should be a part of the military training. japan has had a relationship with the u.s. military in okinawa and other places that have been strained for a long period of time and it seems that would be a part of what they would be talking about. hopefully perhaps you know, with the great support that began the mac has been given with the current tragedy in japan. perhaps you know, there could use him opening up a dialogue with the government of japan about taking a look at the manner in which they treat their friends. in egypt also, a country that is going through transition, perhaps it may be an opportunity there is a very close military relationship to the egyptian
military currently in charge. and it might be a suggestion to our state department officials and even the department of defense because they were probably the ones that influence the egyptians not to fire on the people, the egyptian people, the military to mattel -- military-to-military relationship that they have and as we saw in other areas, tunisia and syria, there could possibly be some, at this time and opportunity to have our government talk even it is military state department to the egyptian government. so i would hope that might be a window of opportunity. at even in russia, there is a better working relationship with
the russian authorities and the usaid cooperated with us on iran for example on the proliferation of nuclear weapons. so i would hope that perhaps one of them rules of our committee would be we make a special appeal because of the situation. it doesn't apply to everybody in every country but at least two or three countries i think that there is some hope at least that there could be some dialogue. so with that, i won't ask you any other questions. we have votes coming up and i will yield to other members of the panel. thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to you all for being here today. mr. elias thank you for your service to this country. i will ask three brief questions and allow other their members to ask their questions and then submit additional questions in
writing. mysterious it in your testimony you mentioned about to russian diplomats in the russian embassy. that your ex-wife works with. has any follow-up been done? has anyone held them accountable for their part in this, and was there any prosecution? >> there has been no prosecution. there was a meeting approximately one month ago between the united states department of state and russian consular employees. the state department declined to tell me with whom they met in particular. i do not believe it was these two individuals, and the russian consulate stated that their policy is that any person that comes in their front door that can prove that they are a russian citizen that person's word will be taken at face value. and therefore, they felt that they were justified in doing whatever that they did and
issuing whatever repatriation certificate which allowed my ex-wife and daughter to leave the country without passports. >> someone from the state department attended that hearing or that meeting but you were not involved in that? pie was not involved in that meeting and i was given information as to what was divulged. >> do you know who the person from from the state department was? >> i believe it was mr. mellow guest and i think she was accompanied by someone else but i do not know that individuals named. >> thank you. mr. elias, the same with regards to you. after the judge ordered that the passports be surrendered, you testified that your ex-wife obtains the passports. has anyone -- has there have been an investigation of her actions, anyone who may have assisted her and any outcome to that or prosecution? >> i have my speculations of who assisted her in everything like
that. i don't want to get into that, but there is supposedly an ongoing investigation that i've not received the conclusion for at four at this time. >> in your situation is at the state department as well? who is conducting the education? >> the actual embassy of japan. >> thank you and lastly mr. bower, you mentioned about the tsa's roland airlines role in the fact that they let the children go through. has any further action been taken against the airlines and/or the tsa? have you had a conversation with them and made them aware of the situation? 's b.s. come as a matter of fact there there is currently assumed i filed against egyptair in this matter and the suit is ongoing so i can speak much about it. so i will leave it like that but
yes we are in discovery about this very issue. >> with regards to the tsa have they been put on notice of what happened? >> yes, they have. >> i yield back my time. thank you mr. chairman and thank you to our witnesses today. >> thank you very much. >> chairman i do not have any questions but i would like to make a statement. first of all i cannot begin to imagine what pain all of you have gone through and you have my deepest sympathies. i know the two best wonderful dates of my life for one i adopted my babies. before i was a prosecutor i was involved in domestic law and here in the united states, and it can be extremely difficult, can only magnify that i about 1 million times with the domestic law or international enforce law of custody but i think where we can start here is, because you have answered
all the questions eloquently, there is no question that i could ask that would elicit a resolution. but i think i. >> for my colleagues and it has been certainly the chairman has gone down this path once or twice. i think the place for you to start is with your representatives, your congressman, your congresswoman, your senators because we deal a great amount of time with foreign issues. we deal with ambassadors, given the fact that we are on the judiciary foreign affairs, homeland security. these all overlap and that many cases, having a congressman or a congresswoman or a senator involved me to a certain extent expedite the matter.
i see my colleagues to the left of me has been writing down names from the state department. we can make phonecalls. we can ask for meetings with these people, and if we have to, demand what can and should be done. we are talking about international law. we are talking about treaties. we are talking about relationships or lack thereof with other countries, but i think we can initiate the task that you have undertaken and it seems like many of you have undertaken the task yourself. the only thing that i can offer at this point is contact us from the beginning. we will play a vital role in this, communicating with our ambassadors and state department. i am a new member to congress but i can tell you that i have
spoken with numerous ambassadora specific issue with them. i presented to the ambassadors a situation that had nothing to do with why they were visiting me, but with the united states had on their mind concerning other issues. and got their attention rather quickly. so perhaps in the future, we can assist that way at the very least and help you through the process until we get this -- your particular issue resolved or until we get this resolved concerning any abductions of american children. i yield my time. >> thank you very much. you've raised an extraordinarily important point, that they can be advocates and i would encourage you if you haven't already to be in contact with
your member and senators. in the last appropriations bill we wrote language included in the bill that admonished and instructed the office of children's issues to inform a left-behind parent who filed with them, that he could advocate could be there on individual representative but because of privacy act reasons, they can't automatically say to us, because i would like to know when my district for my state for example, who is a left-behind parent, and i am not sure how well it is implemented. it does mean that we will then be on their backs just as our constituents rightfully should be on our backs to do our job. you know we all serve the people and not the other way around. i thank you all and if there is anything you would like to add before we go to panel number
three, you have been tremendous witnesses and i agree with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, our hearts go out to you and we will do everything we can possibly do to keep the pressure on. yes, mr. bower. >> mr. chairman i did like to make 1.. understand the foreign services committee has jurisdiction over bilateral aid, and i would note that the aid as announced last week and president obama's speech would therefore fall under the jurisdiction of this committee and i would ask that you make a stipulation that my children be returned before 1 dollar of that aid is given to each of. [applause] >> thank you, sir. the corporations committees and the authorization committee have jurisdiction so thank you so much for that. anything else you would like to add turkowski i would like to say to the other left-behind parent tier and others who couldn't be here today, there will be additional hearings we
will focus on the military side. i did do an amendment to the department of defense bill a couple of years back in 2009 that requires them as mr. payne was putting out so well to begin educating and she will speak to this when she testifies, so that people who are deployed overseas are not unaware of what the risks are and also that are j.a.g. corps is much better pointed with the issue of child abduction to better serve those to put overseas. thank you all three for your tremendous testimony. i would like to now today is her third of experts beginning with ms. patricia apy who is a partner of at the law firm of paras, apy & reiss who specializes in complex family litigation particularly and interstate child custody litigation. her qualifications for testifying for us are impressive and extensive and i will
reference only a few of them. she has litigated and qualified as an expert witness and consultant on international family disputes throughout the world. ms. apy is qualified as an expert on family dispute resolution in non-hague countries and risk factors for child abduction. she has also participated in decisions on hague treaties regarding child protection and abduction. she is also a consultant of u.s. department of to the u.s. department of state and defense on issues involving families and children and the application of treaty law. she was also as we all know one of the lead attorneys and certainly the u.s. attorney for david goldman and provided expert advice and counsel in that long arduous case. next we will hear from this kristin wells who is a partner in the law firm patton boggs. ms. wells provides loving service on a range of issues. she is well-known here on the
foreign affairs committee as she previously served as deputy chief counsel to now ranking member -- now ranking member howard ehrman. in that capacity shorts on international child abduction issues with me and with my staff and with others, including the crafting of nature as 125 known as the john and david goldman resolution which also included patrick drayton's case a visit that did child, melissa. introduce this resolution calling on the brazilian government to return sean to his father. it passed the house in may of 2009. then we will hear from jesse eaves who is a child protection policy adviser at world vision right here in washington. jesse coordinates the advocacy portfolio of issues of child protection that include child soldiers, exploited child labor, child trafficking and child sexual exploitation. he works with world vision pro-grammar around the world and
is integrated into pro-grammy and international advocacy strategy. he also immobilizes americans to take a stand against abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence. ms. apy the floor is yours. [inaudible] earlier in the testimony there was reference by one of the witnesses to the concept of a time capsule, and that immediately resonated to the testimony i'm about to give because actually 11 years ago, in may of 2000, i was asked by the clinton administration administration to travel to japan to begin discussions addressing the hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction. and to discuss international child support obligations. ironically, both of those
meetings, and i have since obviously been to japan most recently in a congressional the congressional delegation headed by congressman smith. both of those meetings and discussions about the hague convention were immediately preceding the g8 summit. now, in 2000, i met with japanese officials, attorneys, judges, american diplomats and american military commanders and address the issues of parental kidnapping, the abduction convention, allegations of domestic violence in cases involving american servicemembers. i left the meetings haven't been told by the japanese they were considering the protections found in the hague treaty and i was told by american diplomats that they were discouraged at what appeared to be little more than lip service. when i returned with congressman smith in february the topics discussed were precisely the same as the discussions that had been held 11 years earlier.
i'm expecting to return to japan in july to provide on-site training to american judge advocates, civilian attorneys serving our military families abroad regarding international child custody considerations. but i think that given that we have had the announcements with respect to the hague convention it is extraordinarily important to understand exactly what is being proposed and how it is and is not responsive to the issue, issues raised and the extraordinarily poise and heartfelt testimony you have heard from left-behind parents. encouraging a session for the hague convention is of course a laudable goal. for one thing it is a positive step in international law to define and recognize parental kidnapping as a lawful act which believe me, as we sit here, is not appreciated in japan.
it ensures that the eventual resolution of a child custody issue will be done in the place where the evidence is located regarding what is in the best interest of the child. child. that is the focus of the convention. that is the child residence. however, the moment that the japanese deposits the recession to the convention and request that a session to be accepted by the united states of america, a number things will happen and those have to be considered and appreciated particularly by the congress. one is that the people who are sitting behind me who have children who have been abducted to japan will be left in a position of legal limbo. now, in cases in which we have a sessions filed by countries that have a family law construct and a type of family law which has a
legal culture that appreciates custody and appreciates visitation, it can finds those whose children have been adopted -- abducted to have to litigate the cases in the country to which the child has been taken. that is not what i'm talking about. in the situation, there is no remedy. promises of the japanese domestic laws going to be changed are welcomed but not responsive to the issue that this is an international parental abduction and of course it is not responsive to the real issue that is being raised here and that is what happens when we are talking about issues of parental abduction that rise above the individual cases to a nation-state issue. no parent should be in a position the position of having to become the united states department of state which is essentially what you have heard described to you here today. [applause]
the treaty provides that the convention rule apply between contracting states only to wrongful removal after its entry into courts so as an initial proposition, that will cut off all of the individuals who by the way you have numbered incorrect way. non-hague countries are historically underreported by the united states department of state for good reasons. first of all there are no central authorities in the countries involved which are keeping accurate numbers. we keep numbers based on who has applied for assistance through the state department, or applied through assistance for a central authority about. in the case of a non-treaty signatory, there is no repository and many of the individuals who have been affected don't author to file certainly historically with the united states department of state says there were no services that were provided to
having done so. as a result you have a whole host and percentage of cases who are simply in reported. the second issue is particularly as it relates to american military embers, the actions from our bases in japan for example our internal, considered internal domestic abductions and therefore aren't considered as international affections despite the fact that american servicemembers may have been living on one of our bases. so if the purpose of this hearing is in part to identify how we can improve the rate of return of children, the very first thing you have to do is have a legitimate way of identifying how many children you have and what the problems are. the other issue is that if the ascession is deposited as it is expected with extensive reservations, it will be a lot
worse than -- substance. in a recent press account issued in japan there were assurances the proposed legislation would specify that returns will be denied in the case of child or spousal abuse and they would be, and i will quayle here no negative effects on the welfare of a child. let me tell you that what that means is it implies the best interest determination which is prohibited by the express language of the treaty. in other words are converted from an abduction case to a child custody case. finally come the, chairman of the japanese federation of bar associations caution and i will quayle urging the government not to rush into concluding the treaty citing the need for thorough discussion by experts and related parties" back. as they indicate in my written remarks, it would be difficult to imagine since the dialogue regarding the treaty was alleged to have begun before july of
2000 when the world's leaders met in okinawa and assurances were made to president clinton, what further internal discussions could be conducted which would do anything other than to play and obstruct the return of abducted children? the recommendations which are included in my written remarks include, as it relates to not just the japanese issue, but any offering of in a session to not merely accept the ascession without some critical analysis which has been the policy of the united states department of state. we accept the ascession and then we worry about how it actually works. i must caution it is a dangerous precedent. american judges rely on a sessions as evidence that if they allow a child to visit grandma and in a hague country like turkey, that the child will be returned in accordance with the hague convention despite the
fact that they are -- may be no central authority that has been provided and despite the fact there is no political or well on the part of that country to do so. i recommend that in advance a full compliance with the treaty that the united states department of state and courage to return of children through a number of diplomatic mechanisms. one is that they enter into a memorandum of understanding which is drafted to include an immediate protocol for the resolution of existing cases involving children alleged to have been abducted to japan, abducted within japan as well as japanese children alleged to have been abducted to the united states. by setting this model protocol come issues of particular concern to japanese legislators could be addressed in advance of finalizing the language and domestic legislation. so, if we are going to start talking about issues for example
of domestic violence which are genuine concerns and issues of spousal and child abuse which are genuine concerns, by having it mou the good faith nature of those concerns as opposed to what we have seen in many many of these cases, and that is pretext to avoid returns, can be taken out of the japanese legislators who are at dealing with the rewrite of their domestic lock law can have the benefit of experts in the united states who are facile with these issues and create an objective and credible mechanism for ensuring such allegations are seriously addressed, protections assured coming mutual rep mission encouraged and repenting use of false allegations to reduce the effectiveness of the treaty. we have to deal with issues of the issues of american servicemembers and their families and assists judge advocates and command authority with tools to advise american servicemembers and japanese national family members of reasonable and enforceable resolutions.
and, we have to assess japan's genuine commitment to the process of fighting international parental abduction by setting objective standards which can be evaluated and can be addressed critically if necessary. this would provide a template for other countries which are considering the steps approaching signing on to the hague convention. we have other nations particularly and again my written remarks will address them and i know we are we are short on time, but there was a comment made about statecraft and the issues of statecraft as it relates to this particular problem. we have countries like pakistan. not only do we have significant issues today but we have huge populations of pakistani americans who have relationships and travel regularly
back-and-forth. the united kingdom has entered into bilateral agreements with the pakistanis to do with child abduction issues. we should be in that same position. now again historically the united states department of state has taken a position that they will not entertain a memorandum of understanding because historically it would dilute the global effectiveness of getting everyone on board if you will to the hague convention. the problem with that is the countries now, the non-hague countries in vast majority have not entered into the hague have unique issues with respect to the religious and cultural elements of their law which make it necessary very frankly to find other ways to ensure that they can become full reciprocal partners under the hague and memorandum of understanding provides that opportunity. the united states department of state should immediately engage in discussions with judicial
officials and non-hague countries that have indicated they want to do that like the united arab emirates, india and pakistan. finally, with regard to reciprocity and the comments that were made with respect to the united states department of state and the office of children's issues in the perception of american left-behind parents that they are not being advocated for. there is no question that the united states department of state, office of children's issues, not the individual parent but the united states of america. that is the reality. the problem is not that parents in my experience want them to be lawyers or want them to be embroiled in individual family litigation. they want them to do their job which is to address the diplomatic issues and efforts,
collection of information and accountability that in his individual litigant cannot possibly do. in order for them to have the tools to do that, there has to be some very concrete things better done. one is, there has to be in real-time and acknowledgment when a country is not acting in compliance with the treaty and call that out in more than the report form. that is that reciprocity has to be something that an american judge, and american parents who are formulating settlements of custody disputes can rely upon. legislative efforts in this body and in the other bodies must provide mechanisms for diplomatic actions that deal with systemic lack of reciprocity. these parents can do it themselves. the protections outlined have now numbered 1940 and this bill
provides an objective transparent process to evaluated reciprocity which is a first step. is this really a reciprocal relationship anymore? if it is not like in ecuador where there is no central authority anymore, and american judge in illinois might want to know that there is no way to get a child back because an american parent is going to have to hire three lawyers to be able to do it because there is no central authority by way of example. in circumstances in which they there are persistent and historical misuse of this process in treaty other american parents and judges who are similarly situated me to know that. no one should have to hire experts to appear in family courts which right now they do, in order to get protective orders to prevent a actions. the only -- the work of this body and having resolutions which address brazil and japan have been used in hundreds of cases around the united states
commission hearings have made incredible impact on the operation of domestic law in the united states so i congratulate the chairman and the members of the subcommittee for spending the time that they have. you're already aware that two of my clients, david goldman have offered testimony to you today. i am most certainly not the only family lawyer working to see families and children are protected from discourages international parental deduction and i cringed when earlier there was a moment or two of concern about the motivation of lawyers. but i need to say that the american bar association's family law section and international section in particular have been asked by the president at the request congressman smith to review the legislation that will be -- that has been presented and the issues to make recommendations on this legislation and other actions additionally the american chapter of the international matrimonial lawyers have offered their
expertise with in evaluating proposed legislation and providing assistance to the united states department of state. both of the members of the aba has given thousands of hours of pro bono assistance and support to of the return of children and counsel to the united states department of state. i am personally appreciative of the continued willingness of secretary janice jacobs to entertain my concern and those of my colleagues and attempting to address these complex issues on a case by case basis. however, and this is to take away, her accessibility is no substitute for a genuine identifiable and transparent process to address issues involving all similarly situated parents diplomatically. my colleagues continue to provide incredible insight and advice and a willingness to work with members of congress to improve the working of the treaty. the comment to contact your
congressperson is only part of the step. the members of this committee i do not believe are representative of what usually happens. that is the people behind me contact the congressperson who contacts the oci who serves a self-serving letter that basically goes through administrative steps that have been taken and nothing more. there is no advocacy associated with that. my observations reveal the extra relaxes and contact congress able to achieve and the experience with the japanese government which we are now engaged. i'm honored to have been given the opportunity to participate in those meetings and to testify before the subcommittee in its efforts to bring every abducted child home and i think you. [applause]
>> chairman smith, ranking member, representative and members of the subcommittee. i'm honored to be here today to share with you my thoughts and concerns about the parental of the auction of american children to foreign countries. i'm here today testifying on my own behalf and and now we should my comments be attributed to any other of the clients. my written testimony provides that an overview of some of the policy issues around international adoption of children and a number have been discussed already so i'm going to shorten my oral comments today. but my testimony does highlight some issues with the hague convention. it addresses obstacles associated with the convention cases discussing the colleges and improvements that have occurred at the department of state but i'm going to discuss that a bit more. we have highlighted issues relating to abductions in africa and japan and make some suggestions on some practical actions that congress and other parts of the u.s. government can take to improve the u.s.
government response to abduction cases. i will not mind testament focuses on the american children and that rightfully is the focus today. it's important to note the hague convention also covers non-u.s. citizen children who are residing in the united states. that's the time of their production in respect of their immigration status here and also as a party to the convention the united states is obliged to help return the hundreds of children who are of deducted from other countries into the united states each year from around the world, and i think this is an issue that the committee and subcommittee should continue to look at. we are rightfully concerned about u.s. citizens and u.s. constituents, but we also need i think to take a look at how our country is doing in responding to requests from other countries. the convention as we discussed is a very imperfect legal instrument. but it has successfully help resolve a number of child of reduction cases around the world, and it has returned children to their left behind
parents, and for every parent that has gotten their child through the convention mechanism i'm sure they are grateful of the existence despite the low success rate. it does provide a means for the country to communicate and for responsible addressing the cases focussing on the child's best interest i don't mean as ms. apy made it that degrees is an important principle, and that principle should be best met by the jurisdictional court where the child habitually resided. it also presents governments to promptly return a child and it embodies promises made by the contracting state to assist other countries in locating children of dr. into their territory. despite these benefits there are too many cases as we heard today where the countries failed to return children to the state of
habitual residence and thus the convention does offer the primary objective. the unfortunate deily in return and sometimes the complete failure to return children results from a number of problems in convention itself at times. one of the problems as we have heard is a lack of an effective enforcement mechanism, and i think some of the discussions about the use of trade and other mechanisms of bilateral power influence are in response to the fact that there is no enforcement process. but the conference on international private law while it has no enforcement mechanism, it still could continue to discuss ways that it could be further enhanced, not just in the interest of the united states, but for all nations that signatories. in particular though, this issue of enforcement is complicated when a child is a dual national, and as we have often seen or heard in these cases that were
described today, even when a child isn't a dual national, they often become a dual national as a part of the abduction in the effort to take or keep them in another country. in addition to the issue of enforcement is also insufficient oversight of the convention, the mechanism -- i would say i encourage the committee to look at the mechanism by which the hague conference reduce its own operations around the world, not just in the united states because the truth of the matter is that while the united states doesn't have any obligation to oversee or make particular comments about these matters it's in our interest to do so. we have is a country tremendous legal expertise and resources, and so i think if we can look at ways in which we can also influence the hague conference to either take more action or initiate new discussions that might not have been have or continue to help progress i shouldn't say their agenda of issues that we think are important such as oversight and
how that oversight then is turned into action will review that can improve the hague system as a whole i think that is useful for the united states to play. although the convention is over 30-years-old a myriad of interpretation issues are evident in u.s. case law and in the case is coming from other countries. the fact that nation's interpret the language of the convention differently as dramatic effects on the cases and often results in children not being returned. there are different interpretations of habitual residence, debates about where the child was living. there are questions about whether the abduction was wrongful as was noted in one of the witness's testimony where the spouse said this isn't wrong i'm the parent and that is a frequent reply, not only by the parent but sometimes by ford in the judicial system sells well, and yet the convention has some clear language on these i
shouldn't say clear, it might be clear to the one reader but then it's right in so many different ways in different countries. this is a problem with the convention on how we come to some standards that can be uniformly accepted. this'll be a long haul and nonetheless something for congress to think about and to talk with the state department and other u.s. government officials about. a critical area of interpretation regarding the convention is a provision that requires that children not be returned to a place where they would be harmed. this is a grave risk of harm exemption, and it says it cannot be returned to a place where they would be exposed to physical or psychological harm. this language is very critical in domestic violence cases and there's a fair bit of u.s. case law as well but also conflicting case law. and so the and my more lengthy submission of testimony, i have
made a suggestion that the department of justice be more involved in looking at how some of this language is interpreted by u.s. courts so that even if we can't prevent the fact that some of this language might be interpreted differently in the united states and then in thailand we can at least try to make some uniform analysis of how the language of the convention is interpreted in the united states. but i also need to know if the domestic violence is frequently alleged and used as a tool unfortunately by some of these hearings or government officials that get involved in the case. there are often concerns of domestic violence raised in case is whether there is absolutely no evidence of that. it's a false claim of course that not only hurts the children involved, but hertz and takes away attention from cases where domestic violence really is at issue. in terms of the case is without
the convention left behind parents face tremendous hurdles s chairman smith will know they might not be able to identify where their child is located dimaci to get a u.s. custody visitation order recognizing in the foreign distinction and face great hurdles in doing so. they are often not able to effectively finally case in another jurisdiction or if it's filed a man not get hurt. closing to identify who in the foreign government has the ability or the desire to locate much child and the hague convention without the hague convention as a tool to encourage foreign government to return the child custody is most likely to be decided by a foreign court order using the child's presence there and as was noted i wanted to also highlight that the convention is not however supposed to be the custody determination document. it's not a regime to decide where the child should live and
what is the best overall outcome what court has jurisdiction to decide the case. as you noted in your testimony this seems to be an issue also of great confusion among a lot of the states that have signed the convention and it seems to be a matter of meeting substantial additional training and guidance that our government can be involved in other governments might be involved in as well that need to be centralized and organized through the hague convention in the netherlands. >> i did want to talk to the department of state in studying this issue over the years i have had a negative experience based by left behind parents and their attorneys. there's also been as you know interchanges of the department's statement like to talk about this but i must say having heard the testimony today that i'm very saddened to hear that some of those changes have not
impacted these families. for that impact is not as visible as it should be and there is no doubt the state department need to continue to do the hard work of trying to figure out how to get the system right. parents are still not commenting that they are being serviced the they are either being taken as seriously as they got to be and that they have an advocate on their behalf. i will highlight some of the structural changes however as the committee may be aware of the special adviser for international children's issues has been appointed and although it is currently held by ambassador susan jacobs it is a position to help elevate this issue and helped coordinate between secretary state's office, the office of children's issues and other aspects of the state department i understand mr. smith that you have a proposal for an even higher
level ambassador and a new office and i'm happy to look at that. and i think this initial position has from a i've been hearing has helped garner attention and this ambassador has been able to play a particular efficacy rule in the diplomatic community that's been important to the mabey enhancements in changing the position or changing the powers that might be useful as well. >> case management has also been restructured to some extent that the state department in the past in the last few years about 24 foreign service officers who handled the kpps load of about 150 cases a year that has not changed and to give up to about 100 officers and not all our foreign service summer civil service and other more than 75
cases. we should be seeing improvements and the reports from the families as a result of this and as a concern that we are not and i am particularly concerned that this is somewhat of what i heard when i was working on the committee as well and i think that when you meet with the state department i believe that they are very earnest. i actually think that the people who were working on these cases understand the importance of what you're doing and are putting forth their best efforts for these families but there's a gap to be bridged because their perception for our perceptions, your perceptions as policy makers and people looking at oversight of the agency and you're going to hear different things on the one side and another set of thing for the families. i urge the committee to consider possibly having state department's testify on this issue and being able to explain some of their limitation comes a
flexible, there's several notes about the state department of providing families information on how they contacted the of the acting spouse or more identified where the child was. i suspect that there are limitations on dusty department officers around that. there may be other limitations as has been discussed on under privacy act issue as it might well be that legislation needs to overturn some of that. and there's a way in which and i assure many have been asking for this for years but if we can still look to bridge the gap that the families feel like they are getting the information they need, the understand better the bureaucracy of the state department and the also don't look to the state department as their adversaries but as their friends because i think in the end only by working together through the added ministration and the state department congress of families, the nonprofit organizations, attorneys involved as the stuff
noted there had been tremendous strides and more can continue to be done if a true interest to stay on the same team. i'm going to shorten tremendously since i think it's been very well covered of the embassy of japan in the last year or so has become more engaged with this issue. i'm in fact the day that i met with them was the date that the sean goldman story broke on the news while i was at the meeting in the embassy, and at that time, this was several years ago, the concept of how to work on the convention and what to do was one that they responded to with some vagary and they noted that was being looked at the ministry of justice that there was the same answer that had been given for several years. and now i and a stand that they are more aggressively involved in discussions here in the united states about hague
convention, but i haven't heard yet is they are more aggressively involved in discussions about individual cases, so i would reiterate what you and others have said that absolutely has to go forward there has to be a decision around the existing cases and there has to be whether it is in the hague convention session or in some other documents in agreement, and of course we have is the primary interest the american children that there are children and many other countries from many other countries who are in japan and so this is an internationally concerning issue. i was asked by congressman payne if i could make some comments about africa, and given the committee that we are speaking with and would like to do that. most of the nations in africa are not signatories to the convention at present the united states has four partners to the convention there, zimbabwe and south africa and burkina faso
and they face unique challenges both in terms of identifying where children are, operating with the central authorities in those governments in particular operating in government where there is no partner. it's also challenging some of these african nations where there are ineffective government structures that have hampered the consideration of the treaty. in addition the commission does have a project on africa to look at this issue and try to make strides in that region of the world. there is an identification that because of the critical role of the personal relationships and africa, and i've heard that this has also played a large part in asia that having a real regional approach that's individually based is important so having a
conference in the netherlands or in washington, d.c. is not going to help him get countries in africa to start looking at the hague convention that will require a lot of direct outreach on an individual level. by one of children of dr. to africa, their profile look pretty different. the africa cases tend to be african immigrants who come to the united states either temporarily or permanently where both parents are from an african nation, and the child is abducted by one parent taken back to the home country and is often left with extended families. grandparents, aunts and uncles were people that in the united states would be considered friends the premature lives in the contract as an african family. and there are a number -- a small number but a notable presence of cases where female genital cutting is a concern of the left behind penance.
the logistics of a child disappears in countries where there may not be sufficient infrastructure where telecommunications is still developing the availability of salles phones where internet is a challenge with the state department following on cases of a challenge for the left behind parents. and challenges in the judicial system that exists in many of these countries is a problem. the left behind parents as african immigrants here in the united states face challenges face that as well. they tend to not necessarily live in large communities. african immigrants it's different from for example being in mexican-americans living on this side of the u.s. border and on the border where there might be lots of mexican-americans and lots of resources to help support you and learn more about how you can politicize or get media attention for your issue.
attention for law enforcement, getting attention from the legal system, and interacting with the political system of the united states congress but even at a local level state and local politicians is much more of a challenge. and so, what i've heard and my understanding from speaking with some of the agency's these cases are not getting that kind of attention or advocacy that has fortunately been the selector on some of the cases in asia, europe and other places on the family. lastly i will just note that i do have a number of suggestions of response from congress. i would just like to note a few. there has been a report on this issue in 2000 and i think the issue is right for a review by the gao also in truth you might also you might also want to look
at an independent report. the state department has a time and given funding to issue a grant and to an independent review from the outside attorney or set of attorneys. there might be a way to do something like that to really effectively look at this issue of communication between the parents and the agency and really about everything the state park is doing on this. but in truth i think that as i've noted there is areas of cooperation with the department of homeland security, areas of cooperation in the department of justice important to look at and what i've heard today about the tsa the problems in the exit system, but there are for example ways to flag the u.s. passport. maybe there are ways that a u.s. child's name can be flagged with the airline regardless of what country the passport comes from. where the name of the child is changed, but as it is right now if the airline brings a person
to the united states who doesn't have the visa the airline has to pay a penalty for the united states and has to return that person at the airline's expense. so there is a disincentive for people on the plan without an appropriate passport and visa. maybe there's a similar way to create a list of children who shouldn't be traveling internationally. it's very tricky but i think that having some sort of discussion between the state department and the other agencies and congress it's almost more of a working group approach involving families and maybe these hearings at the beginning of that where you can start to tease out and work on how some of these ideas can be brought into policy that can improve the overall operations. and my last point would just be that i think that the thing i'd love to see members of congress do more of and that i know that you are a master of come chairman, is to make sure these issues get mentioned to every foreign dignitaries that the members meet with. i don't necessarily mean every
country but if there is a country -- if the committee pays attention to these issues and knows for example that one of the vast majority of the cases then when the mexican officials are here it can be raised and it can be raised by one member were in a larger setting, but i think that would help a lot. and as we have seen your attention to this issue has been a tremendous help for these families. thank you. [applause] >> mr. chairman and ranking member payne, thank you for holding this hearing today and for inviting me. you know, i want to acknowledge the incredibly generous amount of time you've given to the topics or will be very brief and summer is my remarks and ask that my full statement be made a part of the record. my name is jesse eaves and the policy advisor for world vision usc. world of islam as a christian relief development organization serving millions of children and their families around the world
and nearly 100 countries. this work includes programs that work to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children, and devotee for effective systems and laws that can provide a safety net for vulnerable populations. today i've been asked to bring a global perspective on child protection especially as it relates to preventing and responding to the movement of children particularly in fragile states. i want to thank you again mr. chairman for your leadership in order to protect children not only in the u.s. but around the world. you've been behind some of the most important pieces of child focused legislation in the nation's history, and the child protection systems in the country are stronger for it. as this hearing has shown, powerfully so, we still have much more to do, and that is also sadly the case for the vast majority of countries around the world. of particular concern are those countries and impose conflict or post emergency context where children are often found the most vulnerable and informal and formal systems that should protect them have either failed or never existed to begin with.
this year and provides an important opportunity to address not only how the united states can deal with issues like the international child of the action opens the door to put systems in place that can prevent and respond to all cases of abuse, neglect, exploitation, of the auction and the violence against children. the government and fragile states are often unwilling or unable to provide the formal services or support the informal mechanisms required to protect the most vulnerable populations. the issue of the identification documents of extreme importance, in fact something as simple as birth registration can determine whether a child remains in the care of those that love them or slip through the cracks never to be seen again. for example, the birth registration rate in sudan is around 33%. in south sudan almost 300,000 people have returned to join nearly 10 million southern sudanese to take part in the creation of a new country that already has an incredibly low capacity to handle such in flux.
with an estimated 60% of returns been under the age of 18, a lack of birth registration and identification documents means unaccompanied separated children are less likely to find a caring home in our extremely vulnerable to abuse. we now see homeless child population's increasing in urban centers particularly in the southern capital. with no identification and no way to find their families, these children are extremely vulnerable to abuse the input of the auction, recruitment and two armed militia and sexual or labor exploitation. having proper documentation and officials trained in how to identify suspicious behavior is crucial to protecting vulnerable children, especially in fragile states. since the january 2010 earthquake in haiti many organizations including world vision and others like our partner organization heartland alliance has worked to train border guards to prevent the illegal move the children. there's been several documented cases where trained and alert officials were able to stop children from being taken
illegally across the border. in one case a 13-year-old girl was found with a man who could provide no proof of relations. the girl was displaced in the family trees and system, and her mother was able to come and provide proof that she was indeed related to the girl and had not intended for her to be taken anywhere let alone out of the country. this and so many other cases the importance of documentation and officials implementing protection policies have meant the difference between a happy reunification and a life cut tragically short. just to conclude, the u.s. can and should play a central role in encouraging countries as they work to protect the most precious resources of their children. mr. chairman, last year you introduced a bill that is a prime example how the u.s. can take a system strengthening approach in its engagement with other nations. the child protection contact act and to foster partnership between countries and strengthen the very institutions crucial to the protection of all children, legislation like this can play a
crucial role in providing a safer world for children, and we look forward to seeing similar legislation in the future. we also look forward to working with you to insure that every child can live life and all of its fullness. so thank you again for your leadership mr. chairman and ranking member and i will be happy to address the questions. >> thank you very much for your testimony you and your organization does. let me ask a few questions, you know, and may be on japan, being very specific. i note parenthetically that we plan on having a japan specific hearing, because i do think that it's not -- i can't seem likely but it's very probable or possible that the anticipation of the g8 media day before japan will announce they are going to sign the hague come and of course the question will be there and reputation of the condition and preservation and as i think you said so eloquently the needs to be an
mou with immediate critical to the resolution of existing cases involving children alleged to have been abducted to japan and abducted within japan as well as japanese children alleged to have been abducted through the united states. you and i went we were in japan made the argument repeatedly. we've done it here and you made it like i said during eloquently i wonder how our other witnesses might feel about that because my deepest fear will be japan gets all of the adelaide, praises appointed by the other g8 leaders for its commitment, and then when it comes time to implement all the existing families are left behind, and that which is agreed to becomes swiss she's so to speak, because it is riddled with loopholes to read what you want to start on
that? >> i think that there is a genuine concern given what i have seemed as projected reservations and if there is not some dialogue immediately generated by some objective existence criteria provided that first dhaka this process will the law and without having a meaningful treaty relationship if we accept the recession given a number of reservations that appears will be there it will effectively be different than the protections afforded by the treaty. there are legitimate issues that the japanese have to address in the domestic lot better so daunting that the ed vintage of
carving out an opportunity in a mou bilateral agreement so that some of those issues can be worked through will not only benefit the united states relationship, but in the meeting that we had, and this will be what i close with some of the meeting we had included representatives of other countries to japan including the pacific rim and europe, all of whom were wildly positive on the concept of using a mou in this context in order to set forth reasonable criteria and approach that on a multilateral level. so again, i think that by using that type of pravachol it could actually narrow the number of reservations that the japanese would have to take and strengthened the possibility of the true reciprocity. >> ms. wells? >> i would -- i agree come as i
noted earlier, that of supply, they're has to be some agreement to handle the existing cases. and in truth, when any country joins the hague convention that's what we want to see and we know in particular because the ks is in japan it's particularly important. i think that -- i should add in the past that i testified that i thought the notion of giving mou in countries where we were having trouble making agreements was a good idea. i've since heard the state department has felt that some of those have not been as effective as they should have been. so, to urge the committee to look at that question of what makes the mou effective, and if we can get a mou, and it might be the right vehicle, how do we ensure that it's one that will have the force and will secure the rights of these left behind parents and ensure that their children are covered as we
wanted to because if we can't get the sufficient assurances through the hague process, that the government of japan may go through, if it's something they don't want to agree to until they really want to agree to it, they can do another agreement that doesn't really have the force we want it to have. it's just a matter -- i would certainly defer to ms. apy's view. i haven't seen the reservation and she's much closer to this issue that might be free to go. i think we should look at how mous is working for the state department and what would it take to make this particular mou effective. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have no comment. >> let me just go over first, ms. wells come into the dual national -- the happen to be dual national might be more complicating factor. maybe you can elaborate on why that's the case. you also mentioned that the hague conference, that the needs to be perhaps additional
oversight in improvements. do you have any specific ideas, ms. apy, and three decades into the tree, hopefully there is lessons learned where upgrades can be made. i would point out parenthetically that the state department people at oic and the consular officials in countries after country are earnest to read it's not a confidence issue. they are very smart. they need to be very intelligent, and they are well trained. i would argue that the problem is primarily the fact they don't have the requisite toolbox to do the work. one of the reasons why our legislation after the 1940 has been introduced is to take a lesson learned from all the other human rights issues where we had been very effective on the religious freedom and take those tools, those penalties if necessary and apply them to countries so it's a country to country fight knott individual
versus an indifferent or enabling country or worse on the side of the of dr. and if we make it an issue where you can get resolution i found 30 years and human rights work you don't get compliance without a penalty so you might want to speak to that end of it as well. >> let me talk about a precise six sable. in the david goldman case, the case was brought before the supreme court of brazil because there was a lawsuit filed by a political party which sought a preliminary injunction preventing any child from any country being returned under the convention. that was completely stopping all of the process.
the united states department of state took the position initially that the hague conference should respond because the issue raised in my colleague's testimony that they are a more appropriate global body to review the issues of enforcement. i had my doubts, and in fact within the up -- because the hague conference has never taken the position that they lacked as an arbiter of reciprocity they are opposed to looking enforcement in the context of global reciprocity issue and not as distinguished from enforcement in individual cases and additional language or we've treaties that were ready that have already been drafted, and so we we did -- there was a 42 hour window in which the hague conference had to provide briefings in support of not just the david goldman case, but all
similarly situated children from all countries with less than 12 hours before the filing they declined to file a brief. now happily have anticipated this possibility, we prepared a brief with be able assistance of the consular general of the united states and brazil, and the brief was filed by the united states of america. however, is a good example of the reticence because of the policy making and educational component of the hague conference. i respectfully believe that reciprocity is not going to be evaluated substantively by the hague conference. they do not see that as the role and i don't think we're going to take it on. we develop a template to ss and
in the form of the issues of reciprocity that will be endorsed and joined by other nations. free frankly no one wants to act in a way that is not cooperative and can't we just all get along, but the truth of it is that somebody has to take the step to leave out and call out the issues of reciprocity. our report on the subject is the only one issued buy any country in the world right now. >> i certainly wouldn't argue with that. i think that she makes excellent recommendations and my comments about oversight were mainly in response to some of the research and reading i've done on this issue. there's various suggestions of how to solve it, but i think's the practicality of how the conference actually works, and this issue of our country
possibly being the one that needs to take a lead and possibly having other countries then agreed once they see our country taking that leadership role that might be the most effective way to do it. there's also ideas of having an office that would do oversight or you could potentially have something like an ombudsman, i think all of those are issues that need to be examined further and i want to raise something to the committee's attention on the issue of dual nationals, as i noted most of these cases become one of dual nationality. often other countries as the united states will recognize and give the national citizenship to a child of a parent born in that country so it doesn't happen before the abduction, it happens leader. i think part of the issue that has come up in some of the testimony that i certainly heard about before is the embassy is getting new passports, and that
is a real challenge for the state department and in truth it is a challenge for us as a country because we duty diplomatic relations with other countries of the world, and we can't have a situation where the united states can absolutely tell some countries are not allowed to issue passports or visas they will do the same to us and we won't be able to do the things we do and outside of our own borders i do think that that's something that again for the committee to look at and to discuss state department and other agencies how can we talk to fees' embassies better about their own process is and how can we either explain or urge to them that if we can prevent these cases from becoming a cross border cases in the first place we can work with the government to come up with a fair resolution. and it's the courts of our
courts view it appropriately and that child a habitual residence is in the foreign country beginning the jurisdiction to decide the case. and i want to know one thing or the witnesses noted that the state department should be coming to congress saying here's what we need. i would only highlight as a former staffer that i know sometimes that can be very complicated for the agency and the way our bureaucracy works especially as a time the budget cuts and challenges and part of what we are talking about is to make sure the issue gets elevated and there are a lot of things the state department has to come to congress for. i think one of the benefits the way the system works is that as members at that your staff can raise ideas in meetings and they can get filtered and bounce around and sometimes whether or not they might be right thing to
do, but the nature of the communications between the congress and the state department might make it hard for some of the people and the agency who know what they need to be able to come forth and say this is it exactly because it is a lengthy process they would have to go through to get that clear. >> let me just conclude come ask unanimous consent to including pressure from bac, -- back, he makes a number of points he and the group japan must immediately return for the children japan must provide unfettered access to the precious children and number three japan must enact retroactive law. they have a very good series of recommendations with regards to japan implementation legislation the spirit of the hague and really come down hard on and it must be accompanied by rules of evidence here say has no place
in a child access to his left behind parents and it's the best interest of the child and then very importantly or all important japan must immediately locate our missing children and they list the name as was mentioned earlier. there's a number of children who have been abducted and of wrongfully retained who are unaccounted for and who is present location is unknown since the earthquake tsunami and the ongoing nuclear disaster. and the incredible pain and agony to the existing pain and agony they don't know what has happened to the children. [applause] >> ms. apy nor ms. wells, either one of you, i wonder if you can tell us what impact if any has
the united nations convention on the rights of the child or the optional protocol on the sale of the children preventing international child of the auction and do you think the convention is a valuable mechanism for addressing this issue. >> sebelius and the question you're referring to the united nations convention -- >> on the rights of the child where it's optional protocol on the sale of children. >> it certainly had an extraordinary impact on international law and customary international law. of course i feel the need to respond, and that is quite a sticky question, congressman, because the united nations convention hasn't been ratified by the united states of america and so i can assure you when i
stand in another country as i have often and begin to litigate a case, if the child is considered a dual national you may be assured a judge glares at me over their glasses and says can you please explain to me why the united states congress takes the position is with regard to the united the convention on the rights of the child i will also tell you that having written on this subject and spoken on it that i personally take the position, and that position is the policy of the american bar association as well that the united states should in fact be a signature to the united united states convention and this would be yet another exceed will fly because i would not on the argument made as is often made if there are protections associated with the u.n. convention that are somehow
broad protections provided under the united states law and as a result a child shouldn't be returned to the united states the customary international law of children's rights issues is complex i will assure you that in the most recent meeting of the hague conference that dealt with child trafficking that very issue was raised particularly as it related to the alternate pravachol particularly as it related to child trafficking in the context of adoption and that is a sophisticated interplay of international legal issues that weigh heavily on africa and central and south america so again i think it's a huge issue so to some extent beyond the discussion today but a discussion that needs to take place. >> can you tell me what other countries have not ratified the convention >> with this is the second question the judge asked me by
the way. it's equally uncomfortable. it had been somalia and that's it. >> we have to be careful about the company that we keep, right? >> indeed, sir. >> can you tell about the treaty of gandy and we haven't ratified that, you know, how many countries have ratified that? >> i don't have that information. perhaps my colleague. >> how about, but for children soldiers? the under 18 military we haven't ratified that either >> no sir we haven't. estimate and there's only one of the war too. >> we are the leaders of the world no question about it it's the greatest place in the world, however, we lead ourselves to criticism when we go to international court and we
haven't ratified a fundamental thing pravachol like to the right of the child. now i'm sure there are some legalistic reasons why well, first of all many people just don't like treaties. i was glad that mother's day came out years ago because we had to bring it through congress, maybe it might not pass because of the international, so we do really have to i think work more on our own image as we argue these very sensitive issues such time is coming. as the abduction of children been documented in african countries, and to what extent this is an issue for u.s. policy >> that is a good question ranking member pain. i'm not clear to the exact statistics. we definitely do the cross
border movements, for instance, in countries where you've had a refugee population in a particular country, so if you have a sudanese living in ugonda say sierra leone, they're have been cases where you see a parent to a child across the border leaving another behind. i am not certain of the role the u.s. plays, but we know that it does happen and it is equally tragic. >> we know some countries in sub-saharan africa you do have >> where you have this hereditary certitude where the practice for example in sudan as i mentioned before to think of the people that were put into
the certitude by the khartoum busheir government of the north, and have you gotten into a discussion in regards to customs of country where for example in haiti a person who's very poverty-stricken may turn their child over to a wealthy haitian to simply work as a servant, which is not a abduction, however it's not - either. have you dealt with those issues? i think they call it restivik in haiti. >> yes, sudan and haitian, it's been incredibly pervasive and harmful practices that we see in haiti if the main way we address that is working with the families that find themselves in such desperate situations.
you know, so often in cases of poverty a child can become either a source of income or drain on income and parents think that they are doing their child a favor by delivering them to a wealthy family assuming their child will receive education in exchange for doing some kind of domestic work. sometimes that is exactly what happens. but far and away the majority of the examples show these children are taken and kept against their will and forced to work long hours doing dangerous work and sometimes or even sexually exploited. >> so we work with those families to ensure that they have the ability to earn an income to allow them to educate their own children and protect their own children because as we've heard time and time again today the best place for a child is in their parents love and harvest. >> i know there's a lot of controversy with of the
madonna's adoption case you recall several years ago, and you have people on both sides of that issue, and recently actually about a week or so ago we had an issue on china, and one of the international organizations said that he blood urge -- he would urge the ending of adoption of chinese children because he felt that some of them might be adopted or taken away from families, and therefore an improperly put up for adoption. and so i know this question of adoption becomes a very sensitive some people say if they can get a better life somewhere else, why not. others say if you take that out of the culture are you really doing them a better or not? so i just wonder to what extent
are their concerns on the international adoptions in your opinion or research for example pertaining to fraud, this identification of children as selling children to adopt it agencies. >> welcome congressman, we definitely believe that it can be a very beautiful and wonderful thing to happen. one thing when we are talking of international adoption, we want to make sure that indeed that that is the only option left available to the child. oftentimes, we have found that if there are one or more parents still living and working with family to see taken care with that child if that's not an option to see if there's another family member to care for the child and looking towards foster care or domestic adoption, and if that won't be the best interest of the child then you look at international adoption which like i said can be a wonderful thing for all parties
involved. what we see oftentimes is especially when wittingly on behalf of americans that may adopt a case of adoption could be a case of on knowing abduction, and there can be fraud in the process and that's why it's so important safeguards are in place, and in countries all over the world. it's important for those processors to work effectively and efficiently, and looking to ensure the best interest of the child is placed first and foremost on that wherever the end of the will be in a loving and caring environment that will allow them to live out their life. >> thank you very much. >> i want to thank the distinguished witness. i have a number of additional questions but for the food i have two minutes to report to the floor and there will be a series of votes. i will announce again that we will have a whole series of issues or hearings on this hopefully a marked up in the not too distant future on the chart
1940. i can guarantee a will not cease for those who support the legislation until let's call it no matter how long it takes into no matter how much pushback we get. i would also note we would have a japan specific hearing especially surrounding issues of the hague extension and whether or not in the small print there is duplicity, and especially to address the left behind parents who would be left out once again should they not be included in a mou or some other mechanism to provide inclusion in the resolution of their particular issues. would you like to add anything very quickly before we close? >> no thank you sir. >> thank you again for your extraordinary service. >> i would ask unanimous consent additional statements that individuals have requested be submitted for the record and be made a part of the record. and if left behind parents who are here would like to submit
their testimony or statement we will include that as well, and it needs to be done rather quickly, and it needs to be eight pages or less. and finally, we will be reaching out to you again for another hearing because this issue has to rise in its visibility and not add or diminish. thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
deficit? the co-chairmen of the deficit reduction commission said this is the most predictable crisis in american history. we know the admiral has called it our biggest national security threat. not some military adversary. what have we done to the advance the ball to do what we all know that we need to do? this week we had a bow to on four different budgets proposals the president budget proposal received no votes at all. the house passed a budget and and receive the votes of almost all republicans a creative proposal by one of our own members -- members senator to me and not a single democrat.
we have to ask it this point* what is the senate democratic plan to do something about the most predictable crisis in america's history? we are waiting for it. some have referred to the president's speech i can tell from a more recent speeches and we ask a parliamentarian if you could vote on us speech and the answer is you cannot. so when do they plan to step up to help the steel with the most predictable crisis in history? >> the good news there is a discussion with the president at the table on the bipartisan basis and i remain hopeful in connection with the debt ceiling we will do something significant about deficit
and that. that is the best opportunity to go on of the most important democrat in the country at the table which is the president of the united states. he is the only one who can sign a bill into law. but from the senate democratic perspective there is no plan at all. with that i will throw that over. >> vice president biden said he will be cautioning from the deficit reduction and the potential? >> i will not put a number on it. all the talk how medicare will not be a part of the solution is nonsense. let me quote to president clinton i believe yesterday. i don't think the democrats or republicans should conclude from the new york race that no changes can be
made to medicare. that is a similar position of congressmen hoyer per car believe the vice president has also said similar things. medicare will be a part of any agreement for a the long-term debt. i will not put the number on the overall package but we know the driver of the debt and what that is. we only go every year about 40% of the budget medicare social security and medicaid that is why a thinking where the money was you can i get the comprehensive solution
for a pathway to the solution on our debt and deficit problem and leave entitlements it aside from our own up with the overall number on what we will achieve a i have said repeatedly and i will say again to get my vote, it will take your return meaningful caps at least 12 or 13 sometimes it is a promise to do something some day may be. if you know, for sure you have caps on discretionary they will hold up that is short-term which by the way gives you an enormous savings in the out years because you have adjusted the baseline. medium and long-term entitlements, if you bend the line down words which we do not vote on it every day it is not credible and the best example is a
generational security fix tip toenail did in 1983 and need to be fixed again but it did hold up for a quarter of a century. those are the kinds of things it would take to get my vote. >> will there be a resource appointment last week? and majority leader agreed to that but does that go on? >> vellis confident era is between me or the president there would not be a recess appointment although we did feel that all 47 signed to senator reid and that is the reason why senator sessions objected.
if i was confident if not the recess appointments based on other of conversations i have had. >> [inaudible] >> senator mccain and senator kerry have been talking about some sort of a resolution. i will take my leave from senator mccain who has been most involved with that issue. he mentioned yesterday that he has spoken with senator reid and anticipates and i al quoting other people but this is fairly safe coming back to we will likely turn to such a resolution within one ruutu weeks after we get back. >> what about the paul ryan budget do you think it's been the results of new york
that could hurt next november? >> that the budget could be a liability? >> i can only quote president clinton again. you cannot deal with our biggest crisis the standard tempore has sent us a signal united states is on the verge of having the credit downgraded. the united states of america. so all of the talk about how you can do anything about the big crisis that admiral mullen is talk about is nonsense. that is a part of the solution. the 2012 election will take care of itself. i would think we will hopefully have done something significant into this area by then and the american people can decide if they want to punish both
sides because it takes both sides to do it. >> can you discuss the political challenges of the reform and medicare given the message that has legs the republicans want to take medicare away from seniors. >> when president clinton -- clinton was the same and then what he was doing yesterday, who was the argument with? among themselves? >> everybody in this town and in this room. you cannot do anything about the single biggest problem we have without impacting medicare. the good news is we are not talking about them. down the road. so we will have done
something significant to alter the trajectory long term well before the election. we don't know what the issues will be with it next year's election. >> we need to communicate better. >> i am trying to do that. [laughter] i don't think it is that hard. i am going to quote build clinton and erskine bowles and you have been retained that stuff. this is not an issue we should be apprehensive about. everybody in america is concerned whether or not we will have the same kind of country for your kids that our parents left behind for us. there is a lot of things that would be impacted if it was up to me we would discuss social security as
well. who this year. not in the future but to remind people who are currently on the beneficiaries of the and adam programs that we are not talking about them. we're talking about having a sustainable program for future generations. once you introduce that fact into the discussion i think the political anxiety that people feel is bound to go down so drawing conclusion out of the three way race a year and a half before the election i don't want to put you down but it is, into a foolish. a lot of happen between now and then. >> just to clarify, and has big numbers of cuts but
without substantially addressing medicare will not get your vote? >> correct. >> other senior republicans have introduced legislation that if congress does not vote that that necessarily would down main to default. do you agree? >> this is a great opportunity. one of the problems of a complex legislative system like we have, which i am in favor of, checks and balances. the founders did a good job. but there is the issue to get something done. nothing focuses the attention of both branches of government like the
decision to raise the debt ceiling. it puts everybody at the table on a bipartisan basis and people know something must be done. this is the critical moment, actually an opportunity to come together. what i don't understand is the hand-wringing of the politics. let me remind you after reagan and tip o'neill came together that included raising the age limit, ronald reagan eked out the next election only 49 of the 50 states. anything we agreed to do together will not be an issue with the next year's election. the public will look at that and conclude that if both sides felt this was necessary i may not like this part or that part but if they thought it was necessary i don't think either side will have to worry about political
fallout next year. >> with medicare do you think the premium support plan in the house budget resolution or some other kind of change? >> i will not tell you what i think we ought to do. but i expect that to come out of these discussions that is going on with the vice president. >> >> he said if the debt ceiling rate is higher than the cuts do you agree with that? >> if you ask me to put a number earlier i will not put a number. i have a sense of what i think is significant but i will not get more specific than what i have told you. we need the top line 302a number 12 and 13 dec
continues to push discretionary spending downward and we made significant in title reform but i will not put any numbers. >> what about the cuts? >> that will not put the number on it. i am just saying what it takes to get my vote. not irrelevant is the reaction to the market's a standard sambora and others. they need to look at this to conclude this is not smoke and mirrors and a promise to do something someday maybe but the real deal. they have come together to understood that admiral mullen and erskine bowles were correct in doing something important and sustainable to get our house in order. that is what takes to get my vote for our love you all but i will not negotiate the deal with you.
i would encourage you to ask your questions in a different way. [laughter] >> it says legislation is a form of compromise so why not include. >> medicare is on the table. >> why not? >> you are still trying to get me to negotiate the deal. on the tax issue, we don't have this problem because we tax too little but spend too much. i am confident taxes will not be a part of this. medicare is on the table that has been acknowledged by those who are participating. it will be a part of any final agreement. >> the difference between going down to the white
house and they made the efficient use by blinder corporation are you concerned there well not pass the legal muster? >> the better question should be addressed to than they did the research and the lawyers advice and it is permissible but i have now looked at the legality of that. >> what about the recess appointment? in your conversations with the white house did you say you were involved with this one? what gives you comfort? fam negara talks were about the issue of recessing appointments this weekend i was confident the. >> but that is what you have the most? >> we did not talk about
individual. >> you said if you do this together with the political fallout but the last big thing that was done together, as senator sununu smith and coleman might disagree with you. how do think in this environment today? >> yes. i have been talking about intel reform and the 83/84 decision and election are pretty close analogy to what we are in the process of considering doing here. it clearly could have been argued it impacted benefits because social security when of the under that agreement over a period of time.
no question. it impacting those beneficiaries. long-term. that is a clear analogy lowered clear err analogy as opposed to the immediate financial meltdown which we are all faced with in a way. >> [inaudible] >> i supported defense of marriage jack. i have not given any thought frankly to the question you asked so i probably will not respond. >> i am wondering why you voted for the rand paul budget that got seven votes on the floor. >> airwave my kentucky
colleague is extremely serious and has made that his issue. i think he is serious and also of pushes us to do more and did a lot of work on the budget and i think it deserves my support. >> now you have the version of the defense authorization and go out of your way, though in-house but the authority of the t's hinnies and if that increases in a file version, where do stand and what will the bills like >> i haven't looked at the details murray blog on to the senate. i just want too. >> but to save medicare is
on the table is higher on nor off the table? >> as i have said repeatedly, we don't have the tax problem but a spending problem. everybody knows that. that is what we need to be talking about to get spending down. >> surtaxes on our off the table? and with of back up if there is a tax reform any revenues used not to reduce rate reduction that is something we could. >> in my never ending question i really beaumont i will not negotiate the deal with you. but what i have said is to get my vote to come i am not trying to exaggerated but i will not speak for anybody else. but to get more my though
you have to do significant and adam and reform. >> and he does not want to fix social security all lowered ran the $50 billion right now medicare is on the table. all i am doing is stating the obvious saying to give my fellow you have to use something long term that people on medicare still have a program the president's own trustees of medicare and social security which include at least two cabinet members declared last week this is the president's own cabinet and just last week said medicare is in trouble.
soon. so to suggest it is not a part of the discussion, i am just a gain the of the asia-pacific. >> >> i am talking about why it would take to get my vote? >> [laughter] >> the emergency supplemental bill for the tax relief fund you don't sense there is spending cuts to go along with that? >> that house found a way to pay for it. it is desirable to pay for the programs if you can and it looks like they did great legwork. thank you a lot.
spending but take the leading role seriously prevent her days to hampshire's people seem to be well versed on their issues that affect them and how they impact their personal lives. they critically evaluate their potential leaders in numerous local e events. certainly there is a cap for that. they take measure of each person not based on the biases of various news outlets and contents but personal interaction but we're very fortunate to have such the opportunity today. meet we have the former u.s. speaker of the house newt gingrich. his history evidence of life committed to public service.
perhaps no one knows better his way around congress. he has been representative and minority leader and the 58 speaker of the house and hails from the revelation of the 1990's and dain for decorate -- decades of rule in the house. , author the contract with america and congress balance the nation's budget in the 1990's. his and it includes being a college professor, forming a network of successful businesses and not-for-profit groups and writing under numerous john rise producing many awards with the documentary films and working as a political consultant. >> please welcome true american leader newt
gingrich. [applause] >> thank you very much for the introduction. i am delighted to be here. i want to talk to you about what i believe will be the most important election of your life time. a decisive moment of choice for america. to do that i have to ask two questions and i think will help explain why i am running. how many believe america seriously is in the wrong direction? how