Hi Blog. The following letter received from the author, blogging here with permission. Part of the problem of any international issue (especially one involving the protection of the rights of its own citizens) is allies turning a blind eye to it. Friends must help friends break bad habits. And Japan as safe haven for child abductions is certainly a bad habit. Shame on Japan for letting it happen. And shame on the US for ignoring the issue for so long. Still no mention of it in the 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (the most recent, covering the previous year, coming out more than a year from the date of the letter below). Read on. The letter, BTW, went unanswered. Arudou Debito in Sapporo
P.O. Box 1466
Clackamas, OR 97015
Cell: [removed, available to media upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org]
January 14, 2008
Section Head, Asia Section
Office of Asian and Western Hemisphere Affairs
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW,
Washington D.C. 20520
Via: E-mail & Facsimile
Re: Official reason international child abduction language is not being included in the next report on Japan
Dear Ms. Turner:
On 10/31/07 you wrote:
“The Department of State prepares the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in accordance with legislation passed by Congress. Specifically, Section 502(b) of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, which requires the Secretary of State to provide a report prepared by the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The Country Reports cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948. These rights include freedom from torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, from prolonged detention without charges, from disappearance or clandestine detention, and from other flagrant violations of the right to life, liberty and the security of the person.”
I believe we are in agreement with regards to the Department of State preparing the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices. Nevertheless the Department of State annual County Report is not complete according to legislation passed by Congress contained within Section 116(d) & 502(b) of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948. Section 502(b) states: [Such report shall also include, for each country with respect to which the report indicates that extrajudicial killings, torture, or other serious violations of human rights have occurred in the country, the extent to which the United States has taken or will take action to encourage an end to such practices in the country.]
Other omissions of the report are not in accordance with Section 502(b). I noted a few key words you omitted from your October 31st, 2007 Email reply such as: “abduction”. In fact, from the perspective of an internationally abducted child, left-behind parent and specifically by definition contained within Section 502(b), any participating country which allows the abduction of children is in gross violation of internationally recognized human rights. [the term ‘‘gross violations of internationally recognized human rights’’ includes torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person]. It also states: [Except under circumstances specified in this section, no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of inter-nationally recognized human rights.]
Please explain what the applicable circumstances are, contained within Section 502(b), that allow security assistance to be provided to Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Taiwan and other countries which participate in child abduction in gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.
Participating child abducting countries/states are in contempt of multiple violations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948, specifically:
Article 1 states: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Internationally abducted children have their freedom, dignity, rights and God-given inalienable rights restricted to approximately half of their respective cultures, family heritage, social interaction and exposure to their blood relatives.
Article 2. states: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
This speaks for itself in terms of “Everyone” including internationally abducted children and left-behind parents being entitled to rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration.
Article 3. states: “ Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”
Abducted American children are in effect stripped of their constitutional and basic human rights by their abductors until such time as they come to the age of majority in the host country. They are denied liberty in terms of their right to choose without being constrained, freedom from mental and physical captivity and inherent basic rights given to all individuals. How can an abducted child be secure without access to both parents? They are not; in fact many suffer from parental alienation syndrome.
D.C. Rand, The Spectrum of the Parental Alienation Syndrome, 15 Amer. J. Forensics Psychology 3 (1997).
An abducting parent views the child’s needs as secondary to the parental agenda which is to provoke, agitate, control, attack or psychologically torture the other parent.
Symptoms of P.A.S.
Article 5. . states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Left-behind parents and internationally abducted children are subject to the most excruciating form of mental torture and cruel and inhuman treatment after having their flesh and blood taken from them. These children are forever scarred by their experience.
From “Child Abduction is Child Abuse” by Dr. Nancy Faulkner to United Nations Convention on Child Rights:
As an early leader in the relatively new field of parental child abduction issues, Dr. Dorothy Huntington wrote an article published in 1982, Parental Kidnapping: A New Form of Child Abuse. Huntington contends that from the point of view of the child, “child stealing is child abuse.” According to Huntington, “in child stealing the children are used as both objects and weapons in the struggle between the parents which leads to the brutalization of the children psychologically, specifically destroying their sense of trust in the world around them.” Because of the events surrounding parental child abduction, Huntington emphasizes that “we must reconceptualize child stealing as child abuse of the most flagrant sort” (Huntington, 1982, p. 7).
McKeon,”International Parental Kidnapping; A New Law, A New Solution,” 30 Fam. L.Q. 235, 244 (1996); see, Note, “Access Rights: A Necessary Corollary to Custody Rights Under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction,” 21 Fordham Int’l L.J. 308, 318 & n.64 (1997). The mere threat of child abduction is also a form of patent abuse. People v. Beach, 194 Cal. App. 3d 955, 240 Cal. Rptr. 50 (1987).
Article 6. states: “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”
United States GAO Report, 1999 “Federal Response to International Parental Child Abductions”
There are a number of problems and issues related to the federal response to international parental child abduction. These problems have been identified by the key agencies involved—the State and Justice Departments and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—as well as left-behind parents and others. Together, they present obstacles to left-behind parents in their attempts to locate, gain access to, and return their children. Four problems and issues have received substantial attention. These are:
1) Gaps in federal services to left-behind parents, which make it difficult for parents to recover their abducted children;
2) Weaknesses within the existing State Department case-tracking process, which impair case and program coordination;
3) Lack of systematic and aggressive diplomatic efforts to improve international responses to parental child abductions; and
4) Limited use of the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993 to pursue abducting parents and bring them to justice.
Article 7. states: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”
FROM: National Criminal Justice Reference System
BY: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention program
“Section 2: Improving Federal Responses to International Parental Kidnapping”
There also is no central point of contact for information and guidance for parents, their advocates, other assisting organizations, or for State and local law enforcement, all of whom turn to the Federal Government for help in international abduction cases. Much more could be done to provide information to these interested parties about assistance that may be available and how to obtain it, and to facilitate coordination and communication among relevant agencies. In addition, there are significant gaps in services provided, for example, in the area of counseling and support to left-behind parents and to families and children even at the end of the ordeal.
Article 8. states: “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.”
Parents enjoy a right to associate with their children. Mabra v Schmidt, 356 F. Supp. 620 (1973)
This right is guaranteed by the First Amendment as incorporated in the Fourteenth. Alternatively, this right is embodied in the concept of “liberty” as that word is used in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Whatever the constitutional provision or provisions by which it is protected, the right is fundamental.
Congress has also made attempts to recognize the protected right of parenting whether from the passages of court or in legislation. “The role of parents in the raising and rearing of their children is of inestimable value and is deserving of praise and protection by all levels of government.” Proposed Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act of 1995 H.R. 1946 104th Cong., 1st Sess §2(a)(2) (1995) (findings). “Congress finds that the Supreme Court has regarded the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children as a fundamental right implicit in the concept of ordered liberty within the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, as specified in Meyer v Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923) and Pierce v Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925). Note: Meyer and Pierce have become the foundation cases by the U.S. Supreme Court in the process of constitutionalizing a wide range of parental powers.
Article 15. states: “(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.”
Internationally Abducted Children are deprived of one half of their nationality.
It also states: “(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.”
Internationally abducted American children are greatly disadvantaged to choose the nationality of choice after exposure to one nationality is eliminated at an influential and vulnerable age.
Article 16. states: “(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”
Left-behind parents of internationally abducted children have their dissolution rights violated if the dissolution of marriage includes a valid custody order that includes having any access to their children. According to Walter Benda (CRC Japan co-founder) “there is a clearly anti-foreigner bias in the Japanese system handling of foreign spouses’ rights in marriage matters.”
It also states: “(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
Both States involved in international cases of abduction are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948, if uncompromising efforts are not made in recovery efforts of an abducted child.
Article 18. states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
If parents have differences in thought and belief, internationally abducted children are restricted in this right because they are not exposed to both parents at an influential and vulnerable age.
Article 19. states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
If parents have differences in thought and belief, internationally abducted children are restricted in this right because they are not exposed to both parents at an influential and vulnerable age.
Article 20. states: “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”
Abducted children are limited in their past, present and future association choices.
Article 22. states: “Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.”
If one’s government puts diplomatic and economic interest ahead of the security and well being of its most vulnerable citizens, its children, then the government is in violation of the article.
Article 25. states: “(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
In many cases internationally abducted children are deprived or restrictive of their standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves because left-behind parents are allocating limited resources toward recovery efforts without meaningful assistance from their respective government entities. Additionally, abducted children can inherently be cut off from support by a left-behind parent in an abduction situation.
It also states: “(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”
If the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948 were brought up to date, this would be worded as: “(2) Parenthood and childhood…” and parents and children in international abduction cases are entitled to special care and assistance.
Article 26. states: “ (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”
If the governments of internationally abducted children are allowed to break international human rights declarations and ignore valid custody orders by habitual resident countries of internationally abducted children, how can this Article be upheld?
It also states: “(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
A left-behind parent does not have a say in choosing an internationally abducted child’s kind of education and an abducted child is limited in education options that would otherwise be available.
Article 27. states: “(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”
Internationally abducted children are deprived of approximately half of their respective cultural life of the community and arts.
Article 28. states: “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.”
Internationally abducted children are deprived in this sense.
Article 29. state: “(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”
Internationally abducted children are restricted in this sense.
It also states: “(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.”
The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause has a substantive component that “provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests,” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 720, including parents‘ fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, see, e.g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U. S. 645, 651.
It also states: “(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Taiwan and other abduction countries do not uphold their treaty obligations of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Article 30. states: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.” “It is the duty of courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon”. Boyd v. U.S., 116 U.S. 616, 635, (1885).
This speaks for itself with respect to internationally abducted American children.
“It has been repeatedly decided that these amendments should receive a liberal construction, so as to prevent stealthy encroachment upon or ‘gradual depreciation’ of the right secured by them, by imperceptible practice of courts or by well-intentioned, but mistakenly over zealous, executive officers.” Gouled v. United States, 255 U. S. 298, 304, 41 S.Ct. 261, 263 (1921).
Section 502(b) of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act states: [The Secretary of State shall transmit to the Congress, as part of the presentation materials for security assistance programs pro-posed for each fiscal year, a full and complete report, prepared with the assistance of the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and with the assistance of the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, with respect to practices regarding the observance of and respect for inter-nationally recognized human rights in each country proposed as a recipient of security assistance.] In accordance with this legislation passed by Congress and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948 and the statements above; I am respectfully requesting that a full and complete, accurate and comprehensive, international parental child abduction language be included in the next annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices scheduled for release in February 2008 without further delay. This should be done for Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Taiwan and all applicable country reports with internationally abducted children.
Continuing to omit this information in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for all applicable country’s for diplomatic, economic or any other reasons are in violation of U.S. law, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this is completely and totally unacceptable. The inherent conflict of interest that exist between the Department of State OCI, CEOS, DRL, EAP and diplomatic interest intrinsic within the operation of the Department of State are apparently obvious to every left-behind parent. This conflict of diplomacy and lack of assistance to U.S. citizen children subject to human rights violation by way of parental abduction is no longer acceptable excuses for omission of this information. This policy is considered “Dangerous Diplomacy” as described by Joel Mowbray’s in his book on how the State Department Threatens America’s Security. I can’t imagine Congress would approve or take lightly their reports being “washed” in the name of diplomacy with respect to practices regarding the observance of and respect for internationally recognized human rights in each country proposed as a recipient of security assistance.
The United States shall stand as role model to promote the increased observance of internationally recognized human rights by all countries. These fundamental rights, reflected in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, constitute what President Bush calls the “non-negotiable demands of human dignity.”
(Father of Takoda and Tiana abducted, held in Japan)
(V.P. Children’s Rights Council, Oregon Chapter)
C.C. Mr. Walter Benda
Mr. Paul Toland
Mr. Patrick Braden
Mr. Stephen Eisenbraun
Mr. Michael Orona
Ms. Victoria Middleton
Mr. Marshall Derks
Ms. Ann McGahuey