Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 22, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EDT

9:00 pm
a -- when i was in markets, i never relied on market makers to be there when i needed it, frankly. you need to think about other options. i do think, you know on one hand you've got discussions people saying well, yes, the world has changed. but -- about the fact that the liquidity is less. if you think about it, precrisis, you had a massive amount of leverage liquidity in the banking system because of what was going on training box. what we want in markets is sustainable markets. sustainable bond markets. whatever we, have we want them sustainable. i never thought that what we had precrisis was particularly sustainable because it was liquidity driven out of banks. you have people saying maybe we have to do something in liquidity and capital because it's making it hard. i don't think that is the solution. you have others saying if something really goes wrong central banks can provide the liquid. i don't think that is a solution either. that comes from moral hazard and
9:01 pm
other things. what you got to do is think about, you know, i think the industry needs to think about what real money investors really need. if you want to build real liquidity in bond markets. and what they often need is, you know, they want to buy bonds that are in the index upon which they're managed right? so issuing bonds that are actually in the index, it's like equity markets. we know what happens once you get into the index. liquidity goes up. that's like 101, right? then you think about the principles often if you are a regular issuer like this market you know regular issuers they absolutely thrive on building liquidity with the investor base. they issue into the same maturities. they make sure the documentation is simple. make sure you have a good derivative market because maybe they don't necessarily want to -- you may want to keep the liquidity position but sell off the risk.
9:02 pm
a good example is pinco that got their money back in days. so i think there are fundmentals there. let's talk to the experts. let's talk to the industry. that's what we're about at. that's what we do. >> that wraps up the session today. this newsmaker is coming to a conclusion right now. >> we'll be available for questions for a few minutes. but we've come up on the end of our hour. we appreciate everybody showing up. i hope you gained a lot of insight from the chairman's comments today. >> thank you very much. i very much appreciate you all coming. so thank you very much.
9:03 pm
>> on the next washington journal, a look at the debate over gun laws after the recent church shooting in charleston, south carolina. there is a survivor of the virginia tech shooting and advocate for the organization every town for gun safety. also syndicated columnist ann culter talks about her new book called "adios, america." we'll also take your calls and look for your kmenlts on facebook and switter beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> tuesday, the secretary hearing of sib area tack that exposed the personal information of an estimated 4.2 federal workers. a senate appropriation subcommittee will hear from the opm and inspector general and the former home land security
9:04 pm
chief information officer. that's live starting at 10:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span 3. >> first families take vacation time like manufacture us. and like presidents and first laiz ladies, a good read can be the perfect companion for your summer journeys. what better book than one that looks inside the personal life of every first lady in american history. first ladies, presidential historians on the lives of 45 iconic american women, inspiring stories with fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the white house. a great summer time read available from public affairs as a hard cover or an e-book through your favorite bookstore or online book seller. in a news conference monday surrounded by south carolina lawmakers, governor nicky haley called for the removal of the
9:05 pm
confederate flag from the grounds of the state house. here's a look. >> for many people in our state, the flag stands for tradition that's are noble. that tra decisions of history, heritage and ancestry. the hate filled murderer who massacred our brothers and sisters in charleston has a sick and twisted view of the flag. in no way does he reflect the people in our state who respect and in many ways revere it. those south carolinians view the flag as a symbol of respect integrity and duty. they also see it as a memorial a way to honor ancestors who came to the service of their state during time of conflict. that is not hate, nor it is racism. at the same time for many others in south carolina, the flag is a deeply offensive symbol of a brutally oppressive
9:06 pm
past. as a state, we can survive and indeed we can thrive as we have done while still being home to both of those viewpoints. we do not need to declare a winner and loser here. we respect freedom of expression and that for those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their private property, no one will stand in your way. but the state house is different. and the events of this past week call upon us to look at this in a different way. 15 years ago after much contentious debate south carolina came together in a bipartisan way to move the flag from atop the capitol dome. today we are here in a moment of unity in our state without ill will to say it's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds. [ ablaus ]
9:07 pm
[ applause ] >> 150 years after the endst civil war, the time has come. there will be some our n. our state that see this as a sad moment. i respect that. but know this for good and for bad, whether it is on the state house grounds or in a museum the flag will always be a part of the soil of south carolina. but this is a moment in which we can say that flag while an integral part of our past does not represent the future of our great state. the murderer now locked up in charleston said he hoped his action was start a race war.
9:08 pm
we have an opportunity to show not only was he wrong but just the opposite is happening. my hope is we can move forward as a state in harmony and honor the nine blessed souls who are now in heaven. >> last year there was legislation that requires the state department to take action to return the american children abducted to other countries. next, a house foreign affairs subcommittee hearing on international child abduction. this is two hours and ten minutes.
9:09 pm
>> the committee will come to order. good afternoon. let me apologize for starting late. we had a series of 14 votes in succession. goen our distinguished witnesses, apologize for the lateness in getting under way. >> i want to thank you for being here, especially the left behind parents that i see in the audience and the thousands more here in spirit, deeply concerned about their abducted child. we would like to interview the act. in today's child parental child abduction rips children from homes and families and whisks them away to a foreign land alienating them from the love that love them. every year an estimated 1,000
9:10 pm
american children are unlawful removed from their homes by one of their parents and taken across international borders. the problem is so consequential and in diplomacy that congress unanimously passed the goldman act last year to give teeth to requests for return and for access. these actions increase in severity and range from official protests through diplomatic channels to extradition to the suspension of development and security or other foreign assistance. calculated to get results as we did in the return of sean goldman from brazil in 2008. but a law is only as good as its implementation. broken hearted parents across america waited four years for the goldman act to become law and still await full u.s. government implementation of that law. the state department's first
9:11 pm
annual report that we are reviewing today should be a road map for action. the state department must get this report right in order for the law to be an effective tool. if the report fails to accurately identify problem countries, the actions i mentioned above are not triggered. countries should be listed as if -- if they have high numbers of cases, 30% or more, that have been pending over a year, or if they regularly fail to enforce return orders or have failed to take appropriate steps in even one single abduction case pending for more than a year. once these countries are properly identified the secretary of state then determined which of the aforementions actions the u.s. will apply to the country in order to encourage the timely resolution of abduction and access cases. while the state department has choice of which actions to apply
9:12 pm
and can waive actions for up to 180 days, the state department does not have discretion over whether to report accurately to congress on the country's record or whether the country is objectively a noncompliant nation. as we have seen in the human trafficking context and i would note parenthetically that i authored the trafficking victims protection act of 2000 and the goldman act, an accurate accounting of a country's record can do wondered to prod much needed reforms. accurate reporting is also critical to family court judges across the country. and parents considering their child's travel to a foreign country where abduction or access problems are a risk. the stakes are high. misleading or incomplete information could mean the loss of another american child to abduction. for example, a judge might look at the report filled with zeros
9:13 pm
in the unresolve cases category, erroneously conclude that a particular country is not of concern and give permission to an estranged spouse to return to their country with the child for a vacation. the taking parent then abducts the child and the left behind parent spends his or her life savings and many years trying to get their child returned to the united states all of which could have been avoided with accurate reporting on the danger. i'm very concerned that the first annual report contains major gaps and even misleading information, especially when it comes to countries with which we have the most intractable abduction cases. for instance, the report indicates that india, which has consistently been in the top five destinations for abducted american children, had 19 new cases in 2014.
9:14 pm
22 resolved cases and no unresolved cases. however, we know from the national center for missing and exploited children that india has 53 open abduction cases and 51 have been pending for more than one year. the report also shows zero new cases in tunisia for the last year. three resolves cases and zero unresolved cases. and yet miss bar barrow will testify to her more than three year battle to bring her children home from tunisia. again the national center for missing and exploited children show six abductions, all of which have been for more than a year. and none of which than the handling of japan, a country that has never issued oren forced a return order for the single of the hundreds of american children abducted there and not listed as a country showing failing to cooperate in returns. in march, nearly two months
9:15 pm
before the annual report was released, i chaired a hearing of this sub-committee featuring ambassador susan jacobs in which it was made clear that japan will be handled the new abductions after joining the hay administration, all abductions, including the 50 abductions, for at least the last five years. among those cases is that of sergeant michaelee lie as who has not seen his children jade and michael jr. mike as was a mean who saw combat in iraq. his wife who worked in the consulate used documents to kidnap their children then aged four and two in defiance of a court order telling michael on the phone there was nothing he could do because, as she said, and i quote, my country, that is japan, will protect me. her country worried about the designation in the report sent a high level delegation in march to meet with the ambassador and
9:16 pm
explain why japan should be excused from being noncompliant despite one year after signing the agreement, japan has a zero -- zero returns to the united states. just before the report was released, two weeks late, takahashio cada, secretary to the ministers of foreign affairs, told the japanese diet he was in consultation with the state department because we stooif to make an explanation to the u.s. side, i hope that the report contents will be based on our country's efforts, closed quote. in other words, japan got a pass from the state department and escaped the list of countries facing action by the u.s. for their failure to resolve abduction cases based on what mr. oak ada referred to as efforts, not results. sergeant michael alias's country has failed to protect him and his children.
9:17 pm
he's seen zero progress in his case. the seventh year of his heart wrenching ordeal and i traveled with his mother, the child's grandparents to japan and met that brick wall that he has faced now for seven years in trying to help move that case along. and yet the state department can't bring itself to hold japan accountable by naming japan as an offender in the annual report. it is disappointing, it is discouraging and i believe it is disgraceful. the report whitewashes japan's
9:18 pm
egregious record on parental child abduction. and to add insult to injury, the report table that was to show the unresolved abductions in japan failed to include a single one of the more than 50 cases, 36 of which have been dragging on for more than five years according to the national center for missing and exploited children. instead the table listed japan as having a 43% resolution rate. japan again has never issued an enforced return order for an american child. these american victims like their left behind parents are american citizens who need help of their government. the goldman act is clear that all return requests submitted to the foreign ministry and are resolved 12 months later are to be counted against japan, not just three moz. nearly 100% of the abduction cases in japan remain open and the reports conclusion of 43% resolution is trulyin defensible. and not a single left behind
9:19 pm
parent pursuing access was allowed in person contact with their child over the last year. the goldman act has given the state department new -- and i would argue -- powerful tools to bring japan and other countries to the resolution table. the goal is not to disrupt relations but to heal the painful rifts cause by international child abduction. and i remember when i was doing the trafficking victim protection act and there was arguments against the act and this would hurt our relationship with our allies if these women would be sold like chattel, and i persisted and those alongside me persisted and we got the bill passed and friends don't let friends commit human rights abuses and we need to speak out with clarity and boldness on these acts. i do appreciate the departments presence here today to discuss ways to improve the report and ensure it fulfills the purposes for which it is intended, namely the prevention of abduction and
9:20 pm
the reunification of thousands of american families that have suffered forced separation for far too long. would you yield to mr. donovan, a former prosecutor and new member of the u.s. house. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as the chairman said, i'm the second newest member of the house. i was elected and sworn in four weeks ago. but in my previous life i was a district attorney and my experience with custodial abductions was limited to within our own nation. so i look forward to hearing from the parents and i thank you for coming to share your grief
9:21 pm
with us. i'm also the father of a newborn three week old daughter. so my heart goes out to you and i also look forward to hearing from our distinguished panelists to hear what our government it doing for you. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. i would like to introduce our two distinguished panelists beginning with karen christian son, the deputy of state for overseas services since august of 2014. most recently she was the
9:22 pm
ministers counselor for the counselor of affairs at the u.s. embassy in berlin where she coordinated in berlin and prior to that in manila and also served in washington within the bureau of counselor affairs in the visa offices and over seas she's served in london, bucca rest and soul and in the counselor division and in the bureau of human resources and her background will be made part of the record. and then we'll hear from mr. henry hand from the director of children's issues on september 3rd of 2014. his previous assignment was council general in kiev, ukraine. mr. hand is a career foreign service officer and joined the department in 1998. he was promoted to senior foreign service in 2013. his previous postings including the american institute in taiwan, the consulate general in shanghai embassy talon and
9:23 pm
embassy nicka sea. and also served in the department of bureau of consulate affairs as a country desk officer on central african affairs. miss christensen. >> chairman smith and distinguished members of the sub-committee, thank you for the chance to discuss international child abduction and the sean and david goldman child abduction and prevention and return act and the department of states first annual report under this new law. the department values your continuing interest and support of our efforts to prevent international parental child abduction. to facilitate the return of children to their homes and to strengthen and expand the hague abduction convention to include more partner countries. our mission is to assist children and families involved in internet parental child abduction and to prevent its occurrence. in my career i've worked with many families affected by child abduction and seen firsthand the pain it causes. this new law already is encouraging more countries to consider being -- becoming party to the hague convention or to improve performance under the convention if they are already a party. the u.s. interagency working group on prevention mandated by the law has already met twice hosted by special adviser for children's issues ambassador susan jacobs and already prevented abductions. we devoted significant effort to analyzing the new law to
9:24 pm
adapting policies to implement it and to publish the first annual report. we fully recognize that this first report will not meet all expectations. and we al qaeda feedback from you and from other members of congress and from parents who are seeking return of their children and from the public on how we can improve future iterations of this report. as the law requires, 90 days following the annual report the department will submit to congress a report on actions taken in response to countries demonstrating patterns of noncompliance. mr. chairman and members of sub-committee, we are committed to using every tool we have available to prevent international child abductions. we need and appreciate your continuing support, including through your feedback on our work and on our reports to you. so thank you and i look forward to your questions later. so i'll turn it over to henry
9:25 pm
hand. >> members of the sub-committee. thank you. chairman smith, distinguish members of the sub-committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the sub-committee regarding our work in the office of children's issues to prevent and resolve international child abductions and to implement the 1980 hague convention and the civil child abduction and the international child abduction remedies and the sean and david goldman international child abduction and prevention recovery act. i welcome the chance to provide further detail and answer your question about the department of state's first annual report under the new law. our office worked hard since the new law was enacted in august to
9:26 pm
analyze and translate provisions into concrete actions such as collecting 40 new data fields for every new case. we ensured this first report contained all of the information required by the law. the information in the 2014 report naturally is different than the previous annual compliance reports on international parental child abduction which were drafted under previous legislation. the 2014 report represents a first initial effort that we does not -- understand does not meet yours and others expectations. we filed it under a short guideline and worked diligently and simultaneously to make sure as we implemented the law we maintained the office on going work and supported families affected by international child abduction. mr. chairman, distinguished member of the sub-committee, we committed to fully implementing the law and making the most effective tool we can in service of our shared goals and preventing child abduction and
9:27 pm
bringing abducted children home. and we appreciate the feedback and seek your comments on the work we are doing. thank you and we welcome your questions. >> thank you very much. miss christensen thank you very much. could you, miss christensen. tell us, in what ways has the state department made japan, the ministers of foreign affairs aware of the 50 cases aware of the cases previous to the hague abduction convention and do we give their foreign ministry a list of abduction cases? is that how we do it? >> sir, mr. chairman, we have discussed and raised specific cases with the japanese foreign ministry. right now the japanese foreign ministry, there is the central authority which work on hague cases and other parts of the foreign ministry which has the
9:28 pm
lead on pre-hague cases. we have raised the issue of prehague cases with both sides of the japanese foreign ministry and at seen your levels of the japanese government and continue to do so. >> since that is the case, it is -- perhaps an oversight but perhaps more than that, that the goldman act makes very clear that there must be an accounting of all unresolved cases and i'll read you the part innocent part of the -- it is title one, department of state actions. that each annual report shall include a list of all countries in which there was one or more abduction cases during the preceding calendar year relating to a child who is residing in the united states, including a description of whether -- and then it goes through more detailed information.
9:29 pm
but the idea is that there is one case and the whole preceding calendar year. and yet in reading the report, on page 17, it says japan, abduction cases, unresolved cases, zero. and yet elsewhere in the report it does mention the 50. but the way of evading, putting japan on the list and there is 22 yurnts as -- countries as you know, since you compiled it, on the list who have showed a pattern of noncompliance, to somehow just exclude these 50 plus cases that information has been given over to the japanese government, as just indicated, and i know that because i've been talking to our people both in tokyo as well as at the state department here, they do make representation on behalf of individuals, and yet it is
9:30 pm
baffling beyond words, unresolved cases-zero. how did that happen? >> sir, one of the things that we have been working very hard on in the past several months since the law was enacted is -- in devising the report that calls for new data, data that we were not using before, the legislation also contains some new definitions. and one of the issues that we've encountered is that the definition -- in the definitions of the law, and unresolved abduction case is one that remains unresolved for more than 12 months after the date of completed return is submitted to the judicial or administrative authorities and in our extensive review, and what we found is that it was determined we cannot include any non-hague cases where there was no application
9:31 pm
for return. there was an application for custody and access and so on. but again let me reiterate we look forward to working with you and others to make this report as comprehensive, as understandable and as effective as a tool as we can. because we share your desire that this report be something that members of the public, members of congress, judges and others can use as an effective reference. and also as an effective tool to press other countries. >> i deechly -- i deeply appreciate that we share that -- our in tent and your intent is the same and we are concern about this. but the definition of unresolved abduction case and i'll read it again to put it on the record, the term unresolved abduction case is a case unresolved for a period that exceeds 12 months after the date on which the completed application for return of the child, of the child is submitted for determination of
9:32 pm
the judicial or administrative authority as applicable in the country in which the child is located. we have made representation to the japanese government on behalf of these case files, one after the other, after the other, to return the child. i mean -- of course access is usually a part of it. but it is to return the child. because custody we all know is something that we hope is going to be done at the place of the habitual residence. and i don't think it could be more clear. and secretary jaibs -- jacobs said, at a hearing that i chaired on this issue, i'd become very concerned and she said i do think, that we need to reach an agreement for japan and you might want to comment whether or not we are close to reaching a bilateral agreement with them and then she said, this is disturbing, i think that threatening countries is often
9:33 pm
an unsuccessful way to get them to cooperate with us because most of the relationships are flex and involve -- complex and involve many issues. she said i don't think we will sanction japan or threaten them with sanctions because that would be detrimental to our bilateral relationship with japan. and i agree security and bilaterally with japan and was the fix already in, and if we passed the goldman act, you would have a table where it says there are no unresolved abduction cases in japan. again, i think this is theater of the absurd. there are more than 50 of them. some of the parents -- left behind patients are sitting in this room saying zero? how could that be zero? the definition is as air tight as i think lawmakers can write. i don't see how you felt you could not include that. and even in your footnotes you acknowledge the 50 cases, later on in the narrative. so i think you have done a grave disservice to the american children who have been abducted and their left behind parents with total sincerity.
9:34 pm
>> and i don't think the fix was in and i don't there was an in tension to not cite japan. as we read through internal discussion, this definition here, it was the feeling that those cases did not meet this definition as written in the law. but it was precisely because of our concern for the 50 cases that we did discuss them at length in the rest of the body of the report and they continue to remain of great concern to us. ambassador susan jacobs will be going there very soon to japan and these cases are going to be a subject of that discussion. and we continue to attempt to -- to resolve and establish this protocols with japan for the resolution of those cases. those 50 cases are at the forefront of our thinking. we understand that among those 50 cases, about 30 of them have actually filed now -- filed hague cases for access and are working through those cases. >> well, again, these are desperate, loving parents who have been frustrated through nausea with the lack of responsiveness by us, the u.s. government and especially by the japanese government. and let me make a point, when you talk about application. we made it very clear that the term application means the case of a nonconvention country and the formal request by the central authority of the united states, you, to the authority of such a country, and that could be the foreign ministry, requesting the return of an abducted child or the rights of contact with an abducted child. and i presume on each of the outstanding cases, which is now
9:35 pm
in excess of 50 and some have aged out and gave up, perhaps they are not even counted any more, certainly an application to japan, and when i was in tokyo, i asked those kind of questions, are we making a representation, what do you do with the file? you have this file, of course you convey it to the japan in hopefully a persuasive manner. that happened, right? >> we, in the report, as you know, japan conceded to the hague convention and the logistics to the error, we counted the applications for return, we filed that under the hague. we'll get back to you with a more detailed answer on the pre-hague cases and exactly what was done. but let me say that we have -- this is very much a focus of our office. it is very much a focus of our embassy in tokyo. i have been in meetings with ambassador jacobs and other senior officials have been in meetings with officials in tokyo and others and so there was no attempt on our part to evade this issue or somehow push it under the table.
9:36 pm
it is an issue that is very much a focus and one that we care very deeply about. >> i do look forward to that explanation and we hope if she is -- if she is amenable to it so ask ambassador to come back in july because we are in the 90-day review period and if this could be amended, to get it right, because i believe based on the clear language of the
9:37 pm
goldman act japan should be the 23 nation on the pattern of noncompliance. it is the most -- self-evident of all of the countries and there are countries on here and i'm glad you have brazil and india and other countries. in your unresolved cases number on india, amazingly, even though
9:38 pm
there is a national center for missing and exploited children, it is zero there too. i'm working with several cases myself, including one of indy phillips, which she has testified twice before my committee and been to the state department, she's doing everything humanly possible and that is an unresolved case now for multiple years and that is listed as zero as well. so we do need -- and maybe you can amend this to get that right. because i do believe it is an egregious flaw. yes, you want to respond, mr. hand. >> and i want to say we worked with the definitions as our experts determined in putting together the report. because the case is not in the report does not mean that we are not working with that parent or
9:39 pm
that case is not a concern. but this is -- again, this is something that we are very concerned with in our office, again, we want the report to reflect the work our office is doing and an effective tool and also to comply with the terms of legislation. >> again, as i said in my opening, getting the protection act is another issue but it is a human rights issue. we've argued, just get it right in the report and part two, the sanctions regime, if there are any, there is a generous waiver if the president thinks it is in the best interest of the issue itself, the cause and other issues like national security where he is not obliged to impose sanctions but getting the report right -- as i said before judges could read this and say, hum, zero cases, unresolved in
9:40 pm
japan, no problem there and then send somebody off and that kid or children then get abducted by an offending parent. mr. donovan. >> thank you, chairman. either of our panelists, how many children and families are we talking about? >> i'm sorry, sir. as of june 1st, let me get my glasses -- as of june 1st, our office has a total of 919 out going -- meaning children taken from the united states abduction and access cases. the cases may involve more than one child so the total is about 1285 children. as chairman smith said and others have noted, we rely largely on cases that are reported to us. so there are cases that -- that are out there that are not
9:41 pm
reported to the central authority that may not be in this figure. >> does each family have a liason at state that informs them of the progress of their case? do they have to inquire at a general number and try to find somebody to help them or do we have somebody that is working with each particular family? >> the office of children's issues is divided up by region. and each region has country officers. if your familiar with how regional bureaus work, where there is a country desk officer, we have a similar setup in the office of children's issues so we have country offices who are experts and work with families in particular countries with particular regions. and so we have people who work with families that involve brazil or china or russia or japan or other countries. >> and as the chairman points out, one country is not complying and are there countries that could be models for others? >> there are countries -- there
9:42 pm
are countries that we have a very good working relationship with. it is -- we are engaged in, like other aspects of our relationships with other countries, some countries we might have a good working relationship with the central authority but huge problems with judicial or law enforcement authorities not complying or other elements of that. in other cases, there is also issues with just volume. a country we work, very closely with, mexico, which because of the proximity to the united states, we have far more children being abducted to and from mexico to the united states than any other kurn. that relationship is far different than a relationship with a country where there is maybe one or two abductions but it varied. some countries everything works well, some countries we're struggling.
9:43 pm
some countries we're trying to work with elements reason that country to bring along the judiciary or law enforcement to achieve returns of children. >> and my final question, is there some countries that don't recognize the judicial determination of parental rights in our country and don't recognize in their country as a reason to assist in getting this parent back with their child? >> the department of state, we are big advocates of the hague convention because that is a neck nix whereby countries can -- simplifying, but recognize judicial decisions made in other countries to get children back to their habitual residence and there are countries where the left-behind parent does have to file a custody application, a court case in that country.
9:44 pm
so it really -- legal systems as you know vary very much from country to country. >> thank you very much. and before our next panel comes up, i apologize, i have to leave to go somewhere else. so if i leave, please don't be offended. thank you very much. >> let me ask you a couple of questions. when you raised this with the japanese government, can you tell us who that is, how senior
9:45 pm
they are? >> we've raised it with senior members of the foreign ministry. we are actively discussing with our embassy in tokyo sort of other ways to raise this issue. i -- the cases -- the instances -- the most recent cases or instances i'm most familiar with are senior members of the japanese foreign ministry. >> but no names. maybe you can get -- do you have an idea who your people are? if a case goes on with six weeks but following along the treaty, do you consider that a case resolved? >> i'm sorry, could you repeat the question, mr. chairman? >> pardon me. if a country has allowed a case to go on for six weeks, which is what the hague prescribes, but otherwise complying with the requirements of the treaty, do you consider that case resolved? >> we have -- one of the things that we are working with is our definition of resolved and unresolved cased and we have cases that kind of fall into the middle. we have the aun you'll report defines it per definition in the law and at the same time our office may close a case for administrative reasons, for example, rejected by the foreign central authority. that case would still be
9:46 pm
unresolved in the un report report. we do have cases that -- they have not been resolved, they have not come to a conclusion but they don't meet the definition of unresolved, meaning they have within with the foreign judicial authority for more than 12 months. this is another area in which we look forward to working with you and others to make the report more clear and more useful. >> can you tell us how many -- how many abduction cases oci has open inclusive of all years. how many open cases do you have? >> yes, sir. the figure i have -- as of june 1st, i don't have as of june 11th, the office has a total of 919 outgoing abduction and access cases that involve 1285 children. as sir, you have said and we have said before, there are cases not reported to us but that is our open case load as of june 1st.
9:47 pm
>> in talking to india, i asked secretary kerry when he testified earlier this year about whether or not he raised the case with mody and whether president obama raised the child patiental abduction and he said we raise all international parental child abduction cases in appropriate meetings which is now the standard and it is included in e-mails that go back and forth from your office. but just to drill down on that, again, i have individual cases in my own state and yet -- and that have gone on for years and yet the unresolved case load for india like japan is zero. that is like a -- a body blow to
9:48 pm
long, suffering, left behind in this case -- bendy was a mother who had her kids taken away from her and she tried everything and is counting on the u.s. government to be her -- the one entity to make this come to fruition and get her children back. >> sir, i very much -- i understand the concern. and again, for this report, we used the definitions that were in the legislation. that doesn't mean we don't have open cases in the office of children's issues and the case you cited and others are very much a concern of our office. we are pressing the indian government and other governments to resolve them. and again, one of our -- one of the things that we look forward to working with you, with others, is how to make this report a better reflection of what we're doing and the numbers of people and so on that we're working with. >> we're looking forward to doing that. again, and i read it and i won't read it again but the one resolved definition is as clear-cut as i could possibly imagine it. we worked hard to make sure
9:49 pm
there was clarity, predictability, nobody would be confused, no ambiguity, it means unresolved for a period of 12 months after a date on which a completed application for the child is submitted for return in judicial or administrative authority. and again we're tendering these requested for the another ministry and whoever else in japan. and the same goes for india and yet we have zeros there. so please, i ask, respectfully, if you could reopen this issue with regards to the report immediately and resolve that. because it deals a real blow, i think, to the accuracy of the report. let's just say it exactly the way it is and work out what our response ought to be that is prudent and hopefully toast efficacious, which is to get the
9:50 pm
children to the left behind parent. >> we'll take that back, sir. >> and we too look forward to talk in greater detail -- a more we do look forward to having an opportunity to talk in greater details, more detailed briefing about exactly where the numbers came from and what definitions we are using. our goal was really to try to comply with what was required in the report and look at the new definitions and exactly what we were going to end up with and reasonable to have a report that really is responsive to the interests and concerns of everybody involved. if i might say one thing about the act the act is much more than the report. we really believe that a lot of the measures that are in here involving prevention are really going to have a significant impact on the problem. so we are grateful for those measures and we look forward to
9:51 pm
developing those. >> i appreciate that. i know that you report that you had a prevention interagency meeting in november for title iii. have you had any since? >> we had another one. d.o.d. was involved in that one in april, i believe. at those meetings what is really evident is that that sort of interagency meeting and interagency task force does sort of surface ways that we can remove barriers to communications within the u.s. government which i think will provide a lot of benefit for this and we will see a lot of good results from that. >> any insight as to comments on may 9, 2013 where we need to reach an agreement with japan. a bilateral agreement.
9:52 pm
are we close to it? is there an active discussion going on with our friends in japan? >> there is a very active discussion. this is something that as director of the office i have spent a fair amount of time discussing kboeth with our embaesz in tokyo and others it is something that we are anxious to achieve and see progress and we will keep you updated. >> and i would note that i do believe that one part of the prevention scheme and we have learned this from trafficking report is just getting the report accurate. japan needs to be gotten accurate. i want to thank you. i have additional questions which i would like to submit for the record. i appreciate you coming. please get back to us if ambassador jacobs might be available in july before the 90' day period has elapsed. >> thank you. >> thank you. i would like to now introduce our second panel
9:53 pm
beginning with a new jersey resident and father of a young man who was abducted in india in march of 2012 by his mother when the son was 3 years old. he is a cpa lived in the u.s. for almost 21 years. he and his wife are both naturalized u.s. citizens. he was born in new jersey where the family lived together from 2004 to 2012. that's when took him on what was supposed to be a five-week vacation to india. they have been fighting for his
9:54 pm
son's return for three years cofounded to bring our kids home which advocates for return of all american children abducted to india. we will hear from one who is a mother of two aged 9 and 6 respectfully who were abducted by their father to the republic of tunisia in november of 2011. she has successfully returned home to the u.s. with her daughter and continues to seek the return of her now abducted son from tunisia. following her children's abduction she initiated an organization to bring an awareness to her family's case. it has a mission to educate the public about international child abduction issue and develop prevention strategies.
9:55 pm
if you are with membership with the network a coalition of parents organizations and stakeholders united to prevent and remedy international parental child abduction. we will then hear from christopher savoy, a member of the american bar association section of science and technologies big data committee, licensed attorney technology executive and data scientist. he is currently senior manager of enterprise architects where he oversees the company's global efforts in big data analytics. dr. savoy started his technology career in japan where he founded one of japan's first internet consulting firms and then became founder and ceo where he invented and commercialized the national language understanding. dr. savoy founded gni utilizing
9:56 pm
his inventions for novel pharmaceuticals. he will speak about his child being abducted in just a moment. we will hear from mr. preston finley who is legal council for missing children division for national center for missing and exploited children. he provides legal technical assistance and training to law enforcement attorneys, family members and the public including children taken by a parent or family member. he coauthored the litigation guide for attorneys handling cases under the child abduction convention as well as investigation and program management guide for law enforcement agencies responding to cases of missing and abducted children. mr. finley is a former prosecutor and government attorney to practice law in texas and virginia.
9:57 pm
i would like to introduce -- dr. savoy is going to go first. >> sorry. thank you, mr. chairman for the opportunity to speak with you today about the ongoing obstacle parents face to be reunited with their kidnapped children. i am by trade a data scientist, technology executive and co-founder of bring abducted children home. more importantly i'm a father, a father who has been unable to meet with his children in nearly six unimaginably painful years due to japan's complisity.
9:58 pm
my nightmare began in august 2009 when my wife told me she wanted to take the kids back to school shopping. little did i know that on that day and a few short hours my children would be on an airplane in the air and on their way to japan, a known haven for parental child abduction. it would be slightly less painful, pe ex wife facilitated phone calls between me and my children. like the majority my ex wife and parents do not grant access to my children. my phone calls to them are ignored, my packages are refused and my letters are sent back to me. the state department informed me that they are working on my case. we had meetings, phone calls and even more meetings, town hall meetings in which i met scores of other parents in my same situation. their children were stolen to japan, too. i was assured state department was, quote raising the issue of my case and other cases in which
9:59 pm
children were stolen to japan. i would like to share research. national children for missing and exploited children says parental abduction is very damaging and extremely traumatic to the child. the office of juvenile justice says parental abduction profoundly effects the victim children and has long lasting consequences for their emotional health. the fbi says that parental abductions are often borne of one parent's selfish desire to retaliate and parental abduction is child abuse and that the effects of such trauma are deep and long lasting. in my first meeting with the state department official do you know what she said? michelle bond currently acting assistant secretary said to me, quote, at least they are with their mommy. at least they're with their mommy. you would think that someone in
10:00 pm
such a high level position would have known about the studies or the justice department's or the fbi's or perhaps that the u.s. congress in passing the international parental kidnapping crimes act stated that parental child abduction is a felony crime. so this was my first introduction into the world of oci, fab flabbergasted by other stories of demeaning treatment of left behind parents. as well as the state department's habit of fudging theb ins to protect a foreign country's reputation in the eyes of congress. i was actively communicating from the beginning. in 2009, 2010 2011. after a while it became more notable that the staff lacked any outrage at japan's complicity. i asked whose side are they
10:01 pm
really on anyway? their language always seemed slippery. finally in 2011 when my children had been abducted for over a year and a half i asked my case worker has the state department ever demanded the return of my children? on march 9, 2011 responded by e-mail and told me and i quote "the state department has not formally demanded the return of any abducted children." let me say that again. the state department has not formally demanded the return of any abducted children. if they are not demanding the return of abducted children then what are they doing keeping abduction on the agenda. i never received an answer as to why the state department has not demanded return of abducted children. here i am now holding a copy of the state department's report on compliance with the golden act that is the subject of today's hearing. this report is full of numbers.
10:02 pm
42 pages of numbers. these are not just ordinary numbers. each of these numbers represents one or more actual american citizen children kidnapped away from an american parent. each number is a real significant human rights tragedy causing very real tears. i believe this report is mischaracterized and under represented the problem again to protect the reputation of our allies in the eyes of congress rather than being forth right. the truth is that when it comes to japan in particular and its ability to abide by the treaty we have a major problem. japan's own government and legal scholars fully understand and admit that they cannot be compliant. at a recent hearing japanese lawmakers expressed explicit concern about the act and mentioned you, mr. chairman by name. and i quote because japan only has sole parental rights, not
10:03 pm
shared parental rights like most other countries. please allow me to explain this so you understand what is going on here and why without a change in japanese law japan can never be in compliance. in japan every divorce results in the total loss of all parental rights for one of the parents. that's right. under japanese law after a divorce even a completely amicable divorce the parents must decide which parent will maintain parental rights not custody. parental rights. the result of this rule is that one parent must by law have his or her parental rights terminated becoming legally a total stranger, nonparent and may not have decision making over the child anymore never mind guaranteed visitation. decisions over medical care,
10:04 pm
access to a child in a hospital. this is why the state department and the japanese government both of which would like to maintain smooth bilateral relations have had to distort the truth in order to hide this awful fact about japanese law and cultural values. by definition there is only one parent after divorce in japan. japan never developed enforcement mechanisms because in its own country they would never create a system with someone who is legally a stranger. when the state department suggests that japan is magically compliant according to the recent report we must ask how it is possible when the japanese government itself admits that divorced parents have no parental rights at all? how can japan be compliant with this law without parental rights or visitation rights or visitation enforcement not only for american parents but for their own japanese citizen
10:05 pm
parents following a divorce? the answer is simple japan cannot be compliant, legally, culturalally or practically. yet the state department misrepresents the numbers in order to maintain japan is compliant. last week in order to shine the light on the underlying issue of sole parental rights my client a sole surviving parent filed a lawsuit in japan challenging the basis of this legal reality and asked for what u.s. courts would consider a natural human right that sole surviving parent be granted physical custody of his child. right now the child is with a grand parent who refuses all
10:06 pm
access to his daughter. the premise of the lawsuit that a biological parent has fundamental right to his or her own child has made national headlines in japan because several japanese experts state in the japanese press this case brings to light the stark cultural differences between japanese and u.s. culture and laws concerning fundamental parental rights. japan does not recognize that parents like me, like so many others have any rights whatsoever to parent our children. now, in addition to the abduction cases there are cases referred to as access cases like mine which because our kids were abducted before the convention japan claims cannot be forced to return them. in these cases it is required that all obstacles be removed to visitation with our children. in an e-mail dated june 3, 2015 my case waurkorker told my attorney that they claim it is not their
10:07 pm
responsibility to facilitate a visitation agreement despite the fact my ex wife only wants to communicate through jca. my case thanks to the state department's unwillingness to advocate on my behalf remains in catch 22. the only entity for which my ex-wife will communicate and is claiming it is not responsible for hague mandated access. and, in fact, on a recorded interview with australia broadcasting corporation the director of the convention admits verbatum and i quote that japan cannot enforce any sort of access. in fact, the state department in the report is carved out what appears to be a novel exception to the act, not just cases
10:08 pm
awaiting submission but already submitted cases are excluded for the purposes of compliance. in other words once a case is forced into delayed mediation the state department is taking the position that the japanese central authority is off the hook with these because the courts are responsible for guaranteeing timely access to the children. once a case is submitted and state department and jca claim to wash hands of responsibility to children in a timely manner. even if a court takes ten years to provide one hour of access to a child a country can be considered compliant for purposes of the goldman act. under an exception that is nowhere to be found in the language of the act. what is completely unforgivable in my opinion is that this numerical shell game is absolutely to the detriment of american citizen children who are prime victims. note that there are voices of reform in japan including high
10:09 pm
level officials who want to see a change in japan's domestic laws. we need to support them in condemning the current system in japan and not undermine their reform efforts by sugar coating reality. these are people who want to see japanese laws and practices change for the better people like justice mins who in direct response to the case was quoted in the newspaper saying that child custody should be based on the child's best interest and not just on who has been raising the child. people like those who say parental abduction should be regarded as child abuse and those who deny visitation should be divested of custody. people who stated that there is an increasing scrutiny of these cases and that it is the responsibility to regain the
10:10 pm
trust of the people and international trends and custody laws. these reformers in japan understand how far behind japan truly is. why is the state department still covering up for japan? at the end of the day what we all need to do here is acknowledge where the problem is coming from. there is a massive elephant in the room that nobody seems to want to talk about. the elephant in the room is the inherent conflict of interest problem for the state department in these cases. their primary mandate as they see it is to maintain good relations with strategic allies such as japan, a very good cause. this is in direct conflict with the interest of our children and the children of japan whose advocacy would require state department to publically shame and reprimand japan for truly barbaric regime that violates some of the most basic human rights of parents and children
10:11 pm
alike. as state department officials have told us, the military bases in japan and the economic interests that we have do not allow them to demand compliance from japan. the strategic relationship is too important too important to advocate for our children too important even when an act of congress requires them to publically shame japan in a report by simply speaking the truth. they simply cannot bring themselves to do their job and tell the truth because their job requires them to navigate through a huge conflict of interest, to maintain good relations with japan while calling them out for horrendous human rights violations in this context. we implore you to require the state department to do its job and tell the truth and apply tools given based on the truth. we implore congress to require state department to redo this
10:12 pm
report and be honest. help reformers by holding japan accountable and declare japan noncompliant. i want to conclude by offering a solution. we have seen this with the state department and conducts regarding international trade. until the early 60s the department of state was responsible for conducting u.s. trade and have reporting responsibilities just as state does now with child abduction. indeed the kennedy administration found the state department had inherent conflict of interest with dealing strongly with trading partners so the president kennedy created a new office, the office of the u.s. trade representative. even that was not enough because trade deficit continued to grow and throughout the 1980s u.s. companies became perturbed with important strategic partner. remember the '80s?
10:13 pm
i do. remember who the problematic country was? that's right. japan. what did congress do about it? the authority was further enhanced under the trade and competitiveness act of 1988. section 1601 of the 1988 legislation codified and expanded the responsibilities. in so doing the legislation reinforced congressional partnership for conduct of u.s. trade policy. the legislation required that the senior representative on any body that the president establishes to provide on economic policies and the usgr should be included in all summits and international meetings. it is my firm opinion that this is exactly what congress will need to do if we expect for the executive branch to develop the capacity to aggressively advocate for our children without the burden of a conflict of interest. i learned in my many years of international business that a
10:14 pm
good cop negotiation strategy only works if there is a bad cop in the room. asking state to be the good cop and bad cop will not work. like the trade czar what we need is a child abduction czar outside the purview of the state department accountable to the president. a u.s. children's representative office as the senior representative on any body and international child rights matters. this children's rights czar should be included in all summits and international meetings in which child abduction is a major topic and should have its own agenda. this office would be staffed not by people who pass the foreign service exam with degrees in international relations and area studies but rather people with degrees and experience in child woel fair, child psychology and family law. they would be true advocates and be measured by congress and the
10:15 pm
president on their progress in protecting our children internationally. i know we cannot get to such legislation and get it enacted overnight. took decades to develop to its current state. that needs to be a strategic direction. our children have to be as important to us as international trade considerations. our kids human rights have to supersede other issues in context with bilateral relations. they should but they don't. this is causing an enormous amount of needless suffering by the parents sitting before you here the thousands of parents who are not in attendance today and the thousands of abducted american citizen children throughout the world. thank you. >> thank you so very much for your testimony and for your tenacity in speaking for yourself and your family but for all of the families. just to inform you my
10:16 pm
testimony will be paraphrased and i do request it be submitted. >> without objection yours and statements and any additional materials you would like to have attached to your testimony will be made a part of the record. >> thank you. chairman smith thank you for committing your time today to address this issue of international parental child abduction and the implementation of the goldman act hence forth referred to -- i am inspired by your continued concern for justice in cases. without your constant vigilance over the implementation by the department of state i and the thousands of others who have been victimized would be all alone. many have spent years begging to be heard, properly represented by our government. thank you for answering our
10:17 pm
plea. in my family's case my children were illegally abducted by their father in november of 2011. at the time i had full custody of both children and retained a judicial order preventing either of us from traveling outside the united states with either child. because there are no formal legal agreements between u.s. and tunisia i relocated in order to pursue the application of custody rights through their rights. i obtained a tunesian ruling upholding my rights of custody of both in the united states. that ruling was appealed and i later obtained concurring judgments through both the appellate and skourts upholding my rights of custody of both children declaring their best interest served by the return to the united states. despite all of these the tunesian government has refused
10:18 pm
to implement its laws and these rulings remain unenforced to this day. prior to the passing states office of children's issues thrks u.s. conslate the u.s. ambassador and ambassador susan jacobs had been active in our case. this support coupled with avid representation received and the fbi through its legal assured me that with the passing our case would be immediately resolved and our family could be reunited here on u.s. soil. unfortunately, that is not the case. despite having every available tool at its disposal to secure the return of my baby he remains illegally retained with his father. i believe this is due to intentional resistance on behalf of state and the likely unpopular diplomatic and political consequences of full
10:19 pm
enforcement. i have referred to the compliance report to support the claims. i'm thankful that state has provided an account of how many children are represented. while the report makes consistent references there is not one instance where an abducted child is counted. my question is simple. why wasn't a single child accounted for in 2014 and how did the central authority for the united states lose sight of the significance for every parent to have his or her child counted. after scrutinizing the report i have no clear understanding of how many cases occur in the united states, how many children are effected and no means of assessing whether the numbers of abductions has increased, decreased or remain the same. simply providing a basic accounting of cases without identifying a total number of children affected does not bring us closer to an understanding of the breadth of this crime on the
10:20 pm
american public. the compliance report is riddled with gross numerical manipulations as exemplified by review of table two where neither the unresolved case appear to be represented. aside from this the report also expliicates states disinterest in pursuing stronger remedies required. it also clearly articulates its policy of increasing the number of sigatories to the convention as major goal. this policy of pushing convention has not been shown to effect a resolution in any existing case and i believe the devastating repercussions provide strong evidence to that. to be clear as it is written is a fair and powerful law that includes strong remedies when if
10:21 pm
applied will result in the return of our illegally obtained abducted children abroad. if the state had applied remedies as stated he would be home with his family today. the policy and directive of oci to promote and avoid politically remedies for the return of our innocent american citizens speaks volumes. at this time my baby is a vulnerable united states citizen who is being denied his constitutional rights under u.s. law and despite the extensive efforts by united states senators and representative the fbi and legal council the government continues to issue our case while opening pockets to the ever increasing financial allotments that state provides to the republic annually. if he counts and if every
10:22 pm
american child illegally retained abroad counts then state must redouble efforts to account for every abducted child and apply every actionable remedy to ensure their return. as you well know there is so much more that can be said about this very important topic but given time constraints i must conclude my testimony here. >> thank you for your testimony. we will try to have an additional hearing in july because there is a 90-day window where the application of the sanctions hopefully there will be significant and robust sanctions against those 22 countries and i would hope that they will revisit japan because japan absolutely has to be on the list. it is a glaring omission. i would like to yield to the ranking member of the full committee.
10:23 pm
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to just make a brief statement and then i think we're in call for votes. first of all, i want to thank you for scheduling today's hearing and i want to thank you for your tireless advocacy for all the years we both served in congress together i know of no one who fights harder than you for causes in which you believe and are effective in fighting for the causes. i think that everyone here should understand how much of this is driven by you. you drive the agenda and you make your mark and you do good. we have a case who is the parent of internationally abducted american child. i know you have been a champion of returning abducted american
10:24 pm
children back to their home. i join you in calling for reforms to the system. there are few crimes that are more heart wrenching than child abduction. as a parent of three i cannot imagine the anguish and pain by parents who have had a child abducted by their partner and taken to another country. these left behind parents are often in foreign courts and arbitrary determination for what constitutes abduction. usually it's not in the child's best interest even when they say it is. the most effective tool the united states has to help return abducted children is the 1980 hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction creating a global standard and requires to return abducted children to the country of the child's residents for custody hearing.
10:25 pm
unfortunately and regrettably there are significant gaps in the treaty framework and we need to fill the gaps. that is something positive that we can do. international parental child abduction is under reported incident and often overlooked crime which dramatically and traumatically impacts lives of children and parents involved. we need to send a message to the world that we return abducted children back to the united states seriously. i want to thank my constituent for being here and for courage being here with you. we are going to do everything we can to help. i would like to end by thanking my colleague, mr. smith, for his tireless effort on this important issue. thank you very much. >> thank you for your excellent statement, your leadership and we do work. i think the american people need to know more and more. we work across the aisle.
10:26 pm
it's always a privilege to work on the full committee. thank you for being here. i thank you for being here. i look forward to your testimony. >> thank you. good afternoon. i'm honored for the privilege to provide my testimony before you. i commend you for holding this important hearing. i am here today because i am inspired by a british educated bar ster traveling with a bait ticket who was thrown off a train for sitting in first class because of the color of his skin. the sense of injustice and outrage within him inspired a struggle for civil rights in south africa which he later transformed into a fight for national independence from a
10:27 pm
colonial power that resulted in independent india. i'm referring to gandhi. i'm not comparing myself to gandhi but i am compelled to stand up and fight for the cause that transcends cultures and nations. i'm here today because my little boy whom i love dearly isn't with me and he has been dropped of his father's love and presence for over three years. he is another victim of a crime that was not perpetrated by a stranger but by his own parent. it was a calculated malicious act committed to inflict maximum pain on me. i am here today because of dozens of parents whose children have been abducted to india are hoping that i have the courage
10:28 pm
to give an honest and accurate assessment of how our lives have been devastated not only by the abducting parents but by civilized nation states who have shown a blind eye to the immense human suffering that we have experienced for years. parental child abduction is about our children. these are precious human lives and they matter to me chris jeffrey, samyna, nehar, george, eric marla caroline, alissa annie, laura and the list goes on. our governments have failed to rise above economic security cultural and other political issues to solve what is a solvable problem. if one of the objectives of this hearing is to scrutinize the records of japan, india, tunisia
10:29 pm
and other countries then i humbly request, chairman smith, that we add one more name and that is the united states. why the u.s. you will ask? simply put, cases like mine have been lingering without any sign of progress. you don't need to know the inner workings of our government to learn why that is the case. the department of state's website which is included in exhibit c of my testimony lists parental child abduction as the bottom of the section under youth and education. items listed above it include office of schools, exchange visitor programs youth exchange program, student career. how much confidence does that give victims of parental child abduction when on one hand the office of children's issues publically state that they care about our children and are doing everything they can to bring our children home and yet the facs
10:30 pm
show a different picture? how long do parents like me have to wait? let's look at elsewhere within our government where the department of justice whose mission is to enforce law and defend the interest of the united states according to the law to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all americans. has the department of justice lived up to its mission? how many parental child abduction cases have been prosecuted in the past decade? how many cases have they closed without children returning? how many defenders have been prosecuted? the answers are hard to find. here i am presenting a victims'
10:31 pm
report card to rate our experience in terms of how a nation has enacted and cooperate cooperated in their return using a rating scale my son would understand, really bad, not good okay good and awesome. i would rate our experience in the united states as not good. and in india, unfortunately, as really bad. it doesn't give me any joy to say this, but after several decades of collective hardships faced by left behind parents and our children the dial on international parental child abduction just hasn't moved. from a parent's point of view where is the leadership? where is the urgency? left behind parents have been kicked around like a soccer ball from one courtroom to the next from one government agency to another and by chance if their
10:32 pm
stars align the left behind parent like david goldman may get the support and justice they deserve. otherwise for most left behind parents we hit the repeat button and do this all over again. one was abducted in 1990 from california where the son was 6 months old. he spent his entire life savings, sacrificed his career to fight a legal battle to seek justice which continues to elude him. this must change. time to act was yesterday. parents all over the country and around the world are outraged by the reality and the mediocre response at best to address the real human tragedy. for too long voices of children
10:33 pm
have and left behind parents have been ignored or silenced. if i don't stand up today and speak about injustice, he will have one less role model to look up to. while i support a strong and growing family values it must not come at the expense of american children and families. as we enhance engagement with india more and more people will establish social and other bonds, many of these relationships will lead to cross cultural and cross if united states and india don't establish a strong framework including considering alternatives like bilateral agreements or executive orders on the issue of parental abduction.
10:34 pm
this will lead to growth in abduction cases and will lead to human rights disaster that will jeopardize our children's future. policy makers in india need to think beyond its borders and modernize crimes against children, family and custody matters to reflect the new global realities and align to international standards. i urge all members of congress especially those in the india caucus to use this opportunity to bridge the divide and create a foundation for human welfare and prosperity. it's time to take individual and collective ownership and bring accountability wherever it is lacking. we are all aware of india's positive contributions to the world and we know as a rising power it has aspirations to lead the world. upholding core values without taking stock of its own ground
10:35 pm
realities the path forward will not lead to achieving those goals. i wish i could say that the only challenge we face in india is systemic delays in the judiciary and despite abducted children consistently get the justice in india. unfortunately, neither statements are true. while i have seen some recent progress as instances of divorce and custody battles have increased the fact of the matter is those decisions are too few and far between. indian courts are using outdated laws or worse no laws in the case of parental child abduction to address the challenges of modern globalized world. in the recent case in the supreme court of india the court ordered the return of two british citizen children abducted from the uk predicated on the left behind parent
10:36 pm
meeting a whole slew of criteria. it was plainly clear that even when the abducted children are returned to their home countries often with significant preconditions on the left behind parent which in effect penalizes the victims and divorce the abductor. based on direct experiences and the ground realities in india even in 2015 left behind parents are completely stacked up -- are completely stacked up against the left behind parents. we hope leaders in india will pay heed to the following observations not because america is demanding or asking for favors, but her own citizens deserve better. the lack of policy and law recognizing parental child
10:37 pm
abduction as a crime both sevl and penal has significant ramifications for indian citizens and those around the world who have some sort of association with india including cross cultural ties, marriages with indian citizens. india's policy decision that indian courts are competent to decide on individual child abduction cases based on existing law in the absence of indian laws is leading to confusion, inconsistent decision making and wasting of precious legal resources for a country with over 31 million pending cases as of september 2014. the inconsistent at times incorrect application of criteria within indian divorce law on foreign citizens and residents of other countries and expatriots is resulting in
10:38 pm
wrongful assertion of jurisdiction by indian courts raising serious questions of application and impinging u.s. constitutional rights and protections guaranteed to each of us living in the u.s. thus a cocktail of issues combined with a lack of joint custody conditions, gender violence domestic violence laws, nonbailable offenses like 498 a are routinely invoked by abductors, give abundant incentive to parents across the united states and the world for india to become their preferred destination for child abductions. >> if you could just suspend briefly. we have two votes on the floor and i will be back and hopefully some other members within about ten minutes if you can pick up right where you are now and then we go to mr. finley. i apologize but we will stand in very brief recess and then
10:39 pm
resume. >> the subcommittee will resume the hearing. sorry for cutting you off mid sentence, but i had to make the floor vote. thank you. >> i will probably take no more than two more minutes. the issue of domicile and jurisdiction posed the greatest risk for american children and families who have made conscious decision to permanently settle in the united states and yet find themselves being dragged into indian courts due to issues explained above.
10:40 pm
both are u.s. citizens lived in the country for 21 years. he lived here until he was wrongfully removed from new jersey and retained in india by his mother. her presence in india is due to her ubsconding from new jersey after multiple violations of u.s. and federal law. it is evident to any reasonable person that neither i nor my ex-wife the marriage act would not apply to us. yet three different levels of courts in india reached a complete opposite decision. i urge this committee to take special note of the broad and subjective interpretation and application of family law being applied in extra territorial manner by indian courts to foreign nationals and
10:41 pm
nonresidents as cause of concern of our rights as american citizens and protection by the constitution of the united states are being impinged upon. the hague convention has been in place for 30 years. how many more hearings before we see american children being returned from countries like brazil, india and japan? who have either failed to recognize parental child abduction as a crime or disregarded international law and their own obligations. we are not demanding special favors from our government but when parents are being left behind twice, once by their abductor and then by our own government to fight a machinery in another country without direct and sustained u.s. government intervention it is no coincidence that for every sean goldman there are hundreds. the seeming lack of strong will
10:42 pm
courage and urgency across different parts of our government to address this human tragedy is baffling. it is troubling to see that the same actors continue to repeat their bad behavior without any consequence because it appears we are concerned about other economic and security interests. who will be the benficiaryies if our children don't return? i have a few recommendations that where have committed in exhibits e and f and i would like this committee to kindly consider those. i will not go into the details right now. but in conclusion on a positive note earlier this month the u.s. attorney for northern district of illinois indicted a fath frr international parental kidnapping of three children traveling with them to turkey on route to pakistan without their
10:43 pm
mother's consent, permission or knowledge. he left on may 2 and was arrested on may 6 at o'hare airport on arrival as a result of swift and coordinated actions on part of the turkish airlines and law enforcement agencies. all three children are now safely in the united states. we urge our government to deliver the same kind of justice for our children who are victims of this terrible crime including albert alford nikita trisha and dozens if not other american children currently in india. i will conclude with what david goldman state in his testimony. these cases typically drag on for months and soon turn to years as abductor creates home field advantage in their own
10:44 pm
country's legal system. this is the norm, not the exception. these cases are abduction cases and laws have been broken. let's remember that these cases are not custody disputes. let us also be clear what we left behind families are asking for. some people mistakenly believe we are asking for our government to intervene in custody disputes disputes. we are not. all we are asking is when our children are kidnapped to thwart a proper resolution of custody law governing their return to our country is upheld. when it comes to international law that deals with children abducted from the united states and other lands there is no rule of law. and the broken lives and broken spirits of left behind parents across america whom we represent here today stand as a living rebuke to the failure to enforce the rule of law. the plain fact is the nation that refuses to return american
10:45 pm
children unless we arm the state department with the tools they need to do their job and unless nations who break the law flagrantly and repeatedly suffer real consequences nothing will change. after over two years those words still hold true. the department of state has the tools to use them urgently and effectively to bring our children back. we are asking for action. we are asking that you bring our kids home. thank you, chairman smith. >> thank you so very much for your testimony and for your very extensive list of recommendations including for aiders and abettors of child abduction. all of your testimonies are great and i thank you for those specific recommendations. thank you, chairman smith and distinguished members of the subcommittee. i am pleased to be here on behalf of the national center for missing and exploited children. i would like to thank you personally and other members of the committee for your tireless
10:46 pm
efforts on behalf of the families impacted by the terrible crime. the enactment of the act provided families and supporters with additional tools to bring children home and i appreciate your work to help ensure it is implemented in the manner that congress intended. as you are aware for years focused on the problem with international child abduction working with the state department and law enforcement agencies to assist the impacted parents and families. today in our distinct role as a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization we continue to work with families as we have with each of the parents here today to apply our experience, networks and resources to help them locate and recover their children. you have heard today clearly that significant challenges remain. there are still several countries including japan india, tunisia among others in which systemic problems lead to lengthy delays and a lack of any real progress towards the recovery of u.s. children. for one example, india currently
10:47 pm
represents the individual non-hague country with the highest number of active abduction cases noted. those statistics illustrate the exact same depressing reality facing the individual parents who have shared their powerful stories today. it is currently assisting families in 53 total child abduction cases to india right now. 51 almost the entire total have been active for longer than a year. in nearly half of the cases the parent has been seeking the return of their child for more than five years. when that much time has passed since the parent was separated phrases like delay or unresolved or noncompliance are not adequate to describe that situation. it is more appropriate to describe as heartbreaking. the statistics and outcomes this is not comforting information. every statement we have heard illustrates that information is important. the annual compliance report produced by the state department has long served as the only comprehensive source for
10:48 pm
information to evaluate the performance of foreign nations in the most important metric there is how many and how often are abducted u.s. children recovered? the compliance report is a tool that we utilize nearly every day to educate parents and professionals. for those concerned that an abduction might occur the information it contains is utilized to assess risk associated with potential international abduction and relied upon by families attorneys, courts, law enforcement agencies and others to support their efforts in implementing safe guards to ensure a child is not wrongfully removed from the united states in the first place. the question that is always posed by each interested party is what can i expect? and the compliance report helps to fill in that answer. for those families that have already experienced the tragedy of international abduction the report is a tool to inform parents of the specific challenges they might be facing and help them sort through what
10:49 pm
realistic avenues are available for recovering their child. among most common fundamental questions is what can i do? the compliance report has helped in some small part to fill in that answer. as you have heard there have been numerous concerns identified about the information contained in the statute's first compliance report issued in the goldman act and whether or not it contains sufficient details to continue serving as a useful tool. we uniquely appreciate the importance of detailed information when a child has been lost. mr. chairman and other members i thank you for the chance to share with you to help ensure that the most useful and complete information is always available and to help you implement better solutions. my hope and anticipation is that each compliance report continues to expand on existing knowledge and serve as a more useful tool than the last report. i am happy to answer any
10:50 pm
questions about the programs and our role or to otherwise provide any additional information similar to statistics submitted. anything i can to assist you this your work. and i thank each parent for sharing and i encourage the community to seek support in bringing these children home. >> thank you so very much. and i want to thank you and the national center for missing and exploited children. you know, the senate finally has a bill on the floor which i have introduced five years ago. and it was on the fifth anniversary of the introduction of the bill of the house and they finally got to vote on it. but it's very involved and there are letters that support and endorsement that are key. many members are unaware. they have a lot of balls in the air, a lot of them are multitasking and it helped to pierce through, what does the bill do? we want to thank you for that. and as well as the work that you do on behalf of the families and the families on behalf of
10:51 pm
themselves, and for each of those who have testified, what you do for all the others. and i've always been so encouraged and deeply impressed. and you never just fight for your own child, you reach out and try to help others who are hurt by the abductions. and so i want to thank you for that leadership as well. and i hope that the american public will be very grateful that w span decided -- because they get to pick. they have editorial judgment with their coverage and they decided to come in here you as well as the administration speak to this issue. and we are grateful that they are now able to take that message throughout the entire country so that people will know the agony that you face and the frustrations that you face as well. let me ask you this, if you
10:52 pm
would. i know you support others that were left behind. can you tell the subcommittee with some detail, if you would, what it is like to wake up knowing that your child has been abducted, not knowing what is happening during the course of the day. all of you may want to speak to that. as a father of four children, grandfather of her children, i can't even begin to sense how traumatizing that has to be on a daily basis. year in and year out, his daughter abducted when he was deployed and his wife has passed. or the mother of his child. and he can't even get his own child back. as you mentioned, dr. savoy in your testimony, his case. i mean the agony. if you could speak to the pain
10:53 pm
that it imposes upon you, it would be helpful for the subcommittee to get that. >> thank you, chairman. i don't know that you can verbalize the pain. i can say that it's something that you have to work through. and it's devastating, even though it's happening, you cannot imagine it and it's a nightmare that continually goes on. for me, i am grateful that i do have my daughter with me. through her i am able to witness my son on a daily basis and that is a tremendous lesson that i'm firmly aware that so many other parents do not have the gift of. for them, i can say for each of us, our cases are different, our circumstances differ, but we can feel each other's pain. we can feel each other's
10:54 pm
tragedy. i sat here and spoke with mr. savoy and i want to cry for him. it's not something that i feel i can personally put into words, but just ask you to try to imagine, and knowing that you can't ever get to the point of understanding that depth of devastation, realize that it's equally difficult to put into words. >> all i can do is really echo those same statements. there really are no words for this kind of pain, this kind of trauma. daily, hourly, every time you see a child in a super market, it reminds you. i am also stepfather as well and have stepchildren. every time i go to a sporting event or hug my stepchildren,
10:55 pm
i'm reminded that you can't give that same love and care to my own biological children. i think all of us feel that way. we're constantly reminded that we're parents. you don't lose that. it is a biological imperative, part, part of our fabric part of the fabric of our beings. that love is being denied. then you start feeling the empathetic pain for the child as a parent, you don't think i'm being denied something -- and that's true, we are. we are crime victims. but our children have no choice in this matter whatsoever. you empathize with them, all the hugs that they're missing all the sporting events the opportunity to speak your native language with them. all of them, gone. it would be great if at some point we could find a justice system that would give us back that time. but the truth is congress cannot give us back that time. the u.s. government cannot give us back that time.
10:56 pm
god himself cannot give us back time with our children. it's gone forever. so we're left with the pain and the suffering and the parents here and many of these parents have chosen -- maybe as a bit of therapy -- to give back and help prevent these things from happening to other people and to work together to help return these children in some measure, and not lose more time. >> chairman i hundred percent agree with what was just said. i think, again, i'm just reminding that this is a human problem. this is a -- you know life that we're talking about. if we just focus on that and try to, you know decouple it with law and diplomacy and everything else, you know the geopolitical power drains and everything else, then we can sofrl it as long as this stuff is out there
10:57 pm
in terms of technocratic. you know, we're really missing the point. >> in the testimony just a few moments ago miss christensen said the new laws are affecting everyone, even if they're not a party. again, and i would say this as a source of encouragement. if we get the report right and i think on japan it is egregiously flawed. it's a whitewash. it's awful. i can't even think of any more words to describe it. and as you recall earlier from testimony from our friends from the administration, i did ask that they go back and relook at it and reissue portions where they got it wrong. there is nothing wrong with the
10:58 pm
definition of unresolved abduction case which is why i read the definition right from the text to make that clear. they have misread that clearly, somehow. as you said earlier i am concerned again when at a previous hearing when ambassador jacobs said i don't think we're going to sanction japan or threaten them with sanctions because they think that would be detrimental to our bilateral relationship. bilateral relationship like any friendship, needs to be based on trust, needs to be based on honesty, clarity and not putting uncomfortable truths under the table like this egregious wound that it does to your children it does to left-behind parents of parental child abductions. shame on us if we do not say looking them straight in the eye, you know, this has to improve and this is a very
10:59 pm
serious issue between our two countries because we care about the kids, the act ducted children, and we care about the left-behind parents. >> thank you, chairman. you know, as you stated and i reiterated several times in my testimony, i see the shawn and david goldman act as a tool. some of the most promising differences that i've seen in the time since it was enacted have been steps, slow steps, towards improving our nation's response to preventing an abduction from occurring in the first place. i have indicated that the information, the national center submitted in our written statement regarding the active cases to japan where 50 out of 54 active cases have been ongoing for longer than a year, 20 out of 22 active cases to brazil have been going on longer than a year. 51 out of 53 to india have been going on longer than a year.
11:00 pm
all six of the cases we're currently working on in the country of tunisia have been active for longer than one year. that is not comforting information. we're happy and pleased with the opportunity to print that kind of information and to give that perspective and that picture to other parents and to the committee as you try and get a real perspective on whether or not these countries are complying. but that remains a depressing picture. and that remains a depressing picture even in the month since the goldman act has been passed. so i'm hopeful and i'm optimistic, but the active cases remain the way they are. >> as you all know the next shoe to drop will be on the sanctions portion vis-a-vis the 42 nations which ought to be 23. japan has to be on that list. and they are very serious repercussions which i hope the

9 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on