Japan may succumb to pressure to join the Hague Treaty despite evidence that women often abduct children to protect them

Sometimes public opinion (or outdated research) holds more weight than facts. Too bad Japan is now considering joining a treaty that should be rehauled.

Cabinet to OK on May 20 preparations for joining child custody pact 

Japan has been under international pressure to join the child custody treaty, which would help resolve cases in which foreign parents are prevented from seeing their children in Japan after their marriages with Japanese nationals fail.

Protecting abducted kids: Rethinking the Hague Convention

In 1980, an international treaty was designed to return children who had been abducted by a parent who moved to another country. Back then, the people drafting the treaty thought the typical abductor would be a noncustodial father skipping town with the kids, leaving mom with little recourse to try to get her children back. So what happens, three decades later, when research indicates that 68% of the abducting parents in cases under this treaty are mothers — and that many of them are fleeing abusive spouses?

The Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, dubbed the Hague Convention after the place where it was finalized, has been adopted by 82 countries, which are expected to help return abducted children to their habitual residence within six weeks of a parent filing a petition. But Jeffrey Edleson and Taryn Lindhorst, lead researchers on a new study of Hague Convention cases, argue that the treaty is often used against women seeking safety for themselves — and for their children — from violent husbands. “We always thought that child abduction is a bad thing,” says Edleson, a professor of social work at the University of Minnesota. “But in some cases, mothers are taking children to protect them from greater harm.”

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2036246,00.html#ixzz1MB51Qs6o

Consider writing a letter to the editor at the Japan Times – they’ve covered this issue

In the news: Custody Catastrophes

This case comes from Australia, where they’re having plenty of problems with the Fathers Rights Movement. This case demonstrates how access is becoming far more important than safety:

Girls ordered to spend weekends with sex offender father

A COURT has ordered two young girls to spend weekends with their sex offender father provided he puts a door on their bedroom they can lock.

Judge Robert Benjamin, in the Family Court’s Hobart branch, ruled that the girls “need some protection from (their father), particularly at night”.

However, the risk of sexual abuse was “diminished when they are awake and alert”.

Judge Benjamin said that the father, who was convicted of downloading child pornography, must have an “adult friend” stay with him when the girls stayed overnight.

He added that until the youngest turned 14, the girls must “share the same room so they can have the mutual support of one another”.

A Family Court counsellor said that the girls, aged ten and eight, “are at an age and maturity when awake, dressed and together it would be unlikely the father would act inappropriately toward them”.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/girls-ordered-to-spend-weekends-with-sex-offender-father/story-e6frfkvr-1225840653601#ixzz1GWv0gRMU

This case involves an American girl taken to Malaysia by her father. A domestic violence survivors advocate asked: Why wasn’t this mother’s case covered like fathers’ cases are (Goldman, Savoie, etc.) ?
 

PETALING JAYA – An 11-year-old American girl, who claimed she was constantly abused by her Malaysian father, was yesterday reunited with her mother and is set to begin a new life in Indiana, United States.

The girl and her mother, a 28-year-old restaurant worker in Indiana, cried uncontrollably outside the Court for Children here when they were reunited after six years yesterday.

The mother was flown in here by the US embassy after the plight of the girl reached the courts last week.

For the past six years, the mother had been under the notion that she would never be able to see her child again. The girl was listed as “abducted” in the US.

I”ve posted an article before that stated 68% of child abductions involve domestic violence – I’ll repost it again after this article.  

Mothers make case against Hague Treaty

According to the participants, the women talked about their reasons for returning to Japan, and brought their children with them, claiming they made the move because of domestic violence.

After the meeting, one woman told reporters she began to find inexplicable bruises on her child after her ex-spouse’s visitations. She said her child asked to be taken to Japan.

“If Japan were to sign the Hague Convention . . . (my child would) be forced to live with an abusive father and be exposed to violence again,” the woman said. “And I will become a (declared) criminal.”

The Hague Convention aims to promptly return children illegally taken out of their country of “habitual residence” by a parent.

Rethinking the Hague Convention

…research indicates that 68% of the abducting parents in cases under this treaty are mothers — and that many of them are fleeing abusive spouses

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2036246,00.html#ixzz1GWzJxNn5