Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why China Sucks: Nine North Korean Refuges Returned By China After Trying Escape Troll's Tyranny And Live In Freedom

It appears clear that in China the idea of the persuit of liberty is an ideal not worthy of defending, but instead, worthy of crushing.

Once again, China has pushed back the notion of universal freedom.  This time nine North Korean defectors who have escapted the young troll's tyrany have been forced to return to the isolated northern prison located on the Korean penninsula known as North Korea by China.

The nine individuals seeking to live in freedeom were initially captured in Laos, a South Korean news report stated.

In light of previously known freedom paths to freedom, does this shift in events present a new policy by Laotian and China that North Koreans seeking to escape from the young troll no longer be assisted in their quest for freedom?

It appears this way.

Over 25,000 North Koreans Have Previously Escaped Via China
The question that has to be asked is, 'What leverage did North Korea have, if any, on these two countries that caused them to return this nine young men?'

Previously, Laos had been assumed to be a safe route for North Koreans seeking to live in freedom and flee the monsterous control of the dictator who collects Nike sneakers and seeks out Dennis Rodman as a political advisor (As reported by the New York Times today, the trolls first choice was Michael Jordan).

Activists say that defectors who are returned to North Korea can be punished or even killed by the regime, considered one of the world’s most repressive and brutal. In today's enviornment, I think it is important to ask ourselves, how far would the troll go to make a point?

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported the defectors were flown back to North Korea on Tuesday despite a request from South Korea that China not repatriate them.

The report said the defectors, aged between 15 and 23, fled to Laos through China last month and were caught by Laotian authorities earlier this month. Laos sent the defectors to China on Monday, weeks after a Laotian delegation visited the North Korean capital.

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said it was concerned about reports and urged “all countries in the region to co-operate in the protection of North Korean refugees within their territories.”  Close to 25,000 North Koreans have left their country since the Korean War, most of them over the last 10 years.

Often with the help of Christian missionary groups and having paid thousands of dollars to people smugglers, they have traditionally travelled first to China and then onward through Southeast Asian countries to Thailand, where they can fly to South Korea with the help of the government in Seoul. Defections across the land border between the Koreas are very rare.

China, North Korea’s foremost ally, does not recognize North Korean defectors as asylum seekers and can return them. Isn't that wonderful?  Once again, and for what seems to be 'forever' China denies the right of the individual to know liberty.

“It’s tragic and disappointing,” Kim Eun-young, an activist with the Seoul-based Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, said Thursday of the reported repatriation. “We fear defectors will now feel more intimidated about trying to come to South Korea through Laos or other Southeast Asian countries.”

Overall, I think the world really needs to aks if this act is a shift in China's policy of allowing refuges to pass through its country in route to South Korea or other nations that welcome them. If it is a change in policy, well, to put it mildly - that sucks.

Some of you may be interested in knowing that the sequel to 'The Den of The Assassin' weaves a story jettisoned in great length in North Korea.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

International Multicultural Child Custody, Divorce and Summer Child Abductions Warning Signs

Hi, I’m Peter Thomas Senese, the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation and as the summer school vacation period approaches, I would like to share with you the assortment of warning signs and risk factors associated international parental child abduction that targets thousands upon thousands of unsuspecting parents and defenseless children each year primarily who are a product of a multi-national relationship or marriage that is or has ended. In sharing some key warning signs today, it is my hope that children will be protected from kidnapping and overwhelming abuse.

Now if you’re like hundreds of thousands of parents around the world the term international parental child abduction may be one you are not familiar with. . . . . . until a child you know is kidnapped and illegally detained in a foreign country by the child’s other parent.

Before I go any further, let me say this: the vast majority of children abducted abroad never come home. Tragically, some can’t – they are gone forever.

According to United States Federal Law, the illegal removal of a child from the country without consent of a court or the child’s other parent is a criminal act of kidnapping. The conspiracy that leads up to the child snatching is generally filled with a host of illegal activities, including false allegations toward the targeted parent of abuse toward the child or other parent. This is something I will touch upon later. However, one thing more than anything else should be clear: parental child abduction is not just an act of kidnapping against an innocent child, but inherently, an abducted child becomes a prisoner of the kidnapper forced to follow and obey the predators instruction under the deplorable acts of parental alienation that the kidnapper deploys as they need to rationalize their behavior toward the child-victim.

Generally, the vast majority of abductions are well-planned and are orchestrated so that the other parent is off-guard when the abduction occurs. Blindsided by the act of international parental child abduction – that tragically is treated very differently than a stranger abduction by law enforcement despite the act being a federal crime of kidnapping - parents who attempt to reunite with their child often enter a dark and dangerous world that will change their world forever.

But what are we fighting for?


We’re fighting for a child’s life.

Filicide – a term you may not know - is the act of child murder by a parent. In the United States, hundreds of children are murdered by their parents each year. This is not a phenomenon – parental child murder is a reality that knows no borders.

In cases of parental child abduction the kidnapper uses the child as a pawn to cause hurt and suffering toward the other parent. Denying that parent access to the child is a common theme and often the reason why abduction occurs.

The fear is – the reality is – that many abductors exhibiting sociopath behavior often believe that if they can’t have sole custody of a child – nobody will. Additionally, there appears to be a strong correlation of adult suicides connected to child abduction victims.

None of its easy to discuss yet we’re all only three degrees of separation from knowing someone who may be a target of abduction.

In the course of events leading up to the actual abduction or attempted abduction there are clear warning signs that may allow a parent to protect themselves and their children. And with the summer months upon us – the time of year when most child kidnappings take place – I hope that some insight I will share may be of use to you.

On behalf of my colleagues at the I CARE Foundation, one thing is certain: raising awareness and stewarding the message about the warning signs of international parental child abduction has played a role in reducing the number of reported outbound child kidnapping cases originating in the United States by 15% during the last two consecutive years after nearly 30 years of continued growth.

Make no mistake; the reality is that tens of thousands of children living in cities and on farms across our nation are targeted for kidnapping each year. It is carefully estimated that only 10% of these children will ever come home when we consider the ‘reported’ and ‘unreported’ cases of abduction.

Do you really want to play those odds?

Now before I get into a list of warning signs of international abduction you may ask yourself why is international parental child abduction affecting tens of thousands of families?

The answer is complex, but in general terms, we are seeing a substantial increase in multi-national relationships, which personally I think is great; however, with the notion of ‘global citizenship’ comes some challenges.

You see, as our world becomes a closer, more connected society, individuals from different nations develop relationships with one another, some leading to the birth of a child. Unfortunately, some of these relationships end, and when they do, the foreign-born national parent often desires to return to their home country – and when they do – they usually have a desire to take the child with them.

Except they have one problem: the other parent does not want their child to live abroad after being born and raised in their home country.

Knowing that the likelihood of a court granting them permission to live abroad with their child more than likely will not occur, the parent seeking to relocate to a foreign country often creates a clever, well thought-out plan to either abduct the child from the child’s country of original jurisdiction, or, they will create a deceitful scheme that will enable them to legally remove the child from the country they live in – such as plans to travel on a family vacation with intentions of permanent removal.

Once they are abroad, the scheming parent will often lay a host of criminal charges against the other parent, including domestic physical and mental abuse, threats of murder, and outlandish acts of child abuse and neglect – all for one purpose: to sever the other parent’s relationship with the child and to gain legal actions to the foreign courts they are now physically located in by having the targeted parent arrested and prevented from seeing either them or the child.

Now what most individuals do not realize is that once that child steps foot on foreign soil, that child’s temporary welfare becomes the responsibility of the rules of law and courts of the country they are located in.

Which means this: the police and courts must follow the procedures established under their law: the targeted parent more than likely will be arrested, issued restraining orders against them, and have their access to their child denied until an investigation is done. In the meanwhile, the scheming taking parent files a host of legal motions in the country that will further restrain the targeted parent.

Welcome to a scheming kidnappers idea of a vacation.

Sometimes - and I have seen this happen many times – but a kidnapper will say that the other parent actually consented to have the child relocate . . . so that they can litigate ‘what’s in the child’s best interest’ abroad – in their country of origin – and at a tremendous disadvantage to the child’s other parent.

I want to make this very clear: the scheme of a parental child abductor does not discriminate by gender. Men and women generally abduct equally and often cite abuse and mistreatment as the reason why they abducted. They make the claim that they are not abductors but liberators fleeing abuse. The majority of these claims are false. They are lies created to defend against Federal kidnapping charges. They are lies created in hope a court would sanction the abduction under Article 13 of the Hague Convention – a rule that allows an abductor the ability to relocate if they can prove it is not in the child’s best interest to return to their home country. These lies are intended to cruelly cause the targeted parent suffering, including arrest in hope to make any litigation they may bring to reunite with their child difficult or impossible.

So if you think that since you may have a U.S. custody order, and that THAT order will allow you to simply go and bring your child home, you should know this: that once your child is in a foreign country, the pragmatic reality of the custody order you are in possession of may mean very little, especially if the abductor has made a criminal complaint against you and/or filed a civil action for custody. Usually, they happen at the same time.

And so here’s your reality: should you attempt to remove your child and take them home with you, you may be violating laws in the country you and your child are located in and you may be arrested . . . . Your custody order is at least temporarily, useless. Welcome to the world of parental child abduction.

But like Dante’ descending into the Inferno, your nightmare as a targeted chasing parent has only just begun. For example, as an American citizen, do you know that even though the abduction was a criminal act toward you and your child, you are responsible for 100% of all costs associated with finding, monitoring, and litigating your case, including the costs to bring your child home unless you become dead-broke – which often occurs for many targeted parents because the cost to reunite with a child often costs parents hundreds of thousands of dollars. So if you don’t have a large amount of money available, chances are you’re not going to bring your child home. But that’s not it: you still have to deal with the false charges and claims, and litigate abroad. If you don’t think foreign courts have prejudice, you are sadly mistaken.

And if you think you’ll simply be able to get an arrest warrant issued and seek extradition proceedings against the kidnapping parent, you’re in line for some serious disappointment because numerous countries that the United States has extradition agreements with do not have agreements in place regarding parental abduction. In fact, in certain countries, this is not even a crime!

Do you get the sense of hopelessness? If you do – welcome to the world of many chasing parents.

Add to it that while your child is gone, he or she is taught by the abductor to think you are a bad mother or father out to hurt them and their taking parent. Yes, parental alienation and parental isolation are alive and well – and in its abuse, it destroys the innocence and very fabric of your child.

So as the summer approaches, this is the time of year when parents need to be aware of the warning signs of parental child abduction.

I have often heard from parents who tragically stuck their head in the sand and didn’t pay attention to the warning signs that ‘Their partner was not that clever’, to find out just how cunning and deceitful they really were only after their child or children were gone.

The key to stopping child abduction is to prevent it from happening.

The MOST IMPORTANT WARNING sign of abduction is to understand the present relationship you have with the child's other parent and ask yourself 'May that parent have the intent, desire, ability, and means to take your child to another country without your permission, or possible intent to keep your child in a foreign country should you grant permission for your child to travel abroad with you, the other parent, or both of you?

Abduction often occurs as a prelude to parents separating or beginning divorce proceedings, though there are a significant number of abductions that occur post-divorce commencement litigation. In many cases, the abduction is a planned scheme, which means that generally, the parent intending to abduct a child will try to create an atmosphere that is opposite of their intent: meaning that they will try lull the other parent to thinking that they are committed to the relationship, when in fact they are not. This is a critical issue because it is easier to abduct a child when the targeted parent is not seeking to prevent abduction. So having the targeted parent think that there is a loving, committed relationship is critical for the abductor.

So - if you have been in a difficult, strained relationship with a person who has deep ties to a foreign country, and suddenly that person is demonstrating a new-found love or new-found commitment . . . and they eventually pose the idea of traveling abroad with the child so the child could visit that person's family, THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS WARNING SIGN that abduction may be planned.

Remember, even if you are invited to travel with the other parent and child, this does not mean you or your child are safe. I know many parents who traveled abroad with the other parent and child who were in possession of custody orders - only to have false claims of abuse, neglect, or acts of violence made against them within days of touching down in the foreign country. Once that happens, the legal nightmare begins - despite possessing joint custody, there is very little that the targeted parent can do to remove the child from the inbound country because the abducting parent usually has filed legal documents seeking court relief to remain abroad - typically in their country of origin.

So here we are - the school summer vacation season is upon us. Parents need to ask themselves this question: Has my relationship with my child's other parent been strained, and all of a sudden there is a new-found love or commitment by that parent - and is there a trip abroad being suggested or planned? Because if so - you should be very concerned.

As touched upon earlier, if you believe the other parent may remove or retain the child abroad in order to gain an advantage in expected or pending child-custody proceedings by seeking the jurisdiction of the courts located in their country of origin, you should be very concerned.

For example, if a child is taken to a nation in the Middle East, there is a high probability that that nation will allow the abductor to keep the child abroad since the legal environment or cultural traditions may provide the abductor the safe harbor they seek.

In fact, there are many nations who simply do not return internationally kidnapped children, and this includes the majority of countries found in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, who outrageously, are not signatory members of international treaties on abduction. And before I let you think that having a child abducted to European or South American countries is any better you better think again. For example, I have a good friend who is a highly decorated police officer in New York who had his daughter abducted to Germany. For nearly 4 years this loving, honest, compassionate father has fought to reunite with his child. Yet she remains in Germany and he is as close as bringing her home today as he was when the kidnapping first occurred.

Unfortunately, there are countries, particularly in the Middle East, that have cultural environments that make it very difficult for a woman to recover their child. Cultural norms in Asia make it equally difficult for a man to recover their child. But child recovery and reunification is rare. In fact, there are many cases when the international courts order for a child to be returned to their country of original jurisdiction, and the kidnapping parent does not follow the court orders and does so without fear of retribution or arrest . . . . its a common theme.

Now back to the WARNING SIGNS - If the other parent threatens you that they will take your child abroad and you will never see them, don't take this threat as a non-event. Many abductors who have successfully kept a child abroad did in fact make at least one threat that they were returning to their own country of origin.

Another WARNING SIGN is if the other parent presses you to sign a passport application for your child to obtain a passport from their country of their origin. Remember - your child has a right to dual citizenship if their other parent is a foreign born national.

BEWARE that many nations do not require a second parent's signature in order to obtain travel documents for a dual national child. . . for example France - so you very well may not know if the other parent has a secondary passport issued from another country. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT because even though the U.S. courts may obtain or even cancel your child's American passports, they have no control on passports issued by another country. The fact is that even though a U.S. court order may restrict international travel for the child - passports issued by a foreign country are accepted without question at points of departure from the U.S. "

So if abduction is going to occur - there is a high probability that foreign issued passports will be used to leave the United States.

NEEDLESS TO SAY, if you discover a foreign passport for your child issued from another country that you were not aware of, you have a serious problem on your hand.

Often the scheming parent will use a sudden illness of a family member abroad as a scheme to play on the targeted parent's heart, often seeking to have their child, 'See their grandmother or grandfather before they pass away.' I can't even begin to tell you how many scenarios like that I am aware of - when the targeted parent who let their child travel with the other parent - soon finds out that there was no family emergency, but instead - an abduction scheme.

A CRITICAL WARNING SIGN is if you soon realize that the other parent is sending large sums of money or other personal belongings abroad - or if they are removing all financial ties to the country they presently live in . . . such as selling their home, quitting their job, selling their car. You get the idea.

There is one other VERY IMPORTANT WARNING SIGN that I would like to touch upon here: if there is a false police complaint and incident report filed by your child's other parent against you, there is a likelihood that they are establishing a case against you based upon domestic violence and abuse which will be very beneficial to them in court should they abduct your child.

Disgracefully, both men and women abductors are known to make false claims of abuse toward the other parent when planning to abduct . . . if you think it can’t happen to you – you better think again.

With false police complaints in mind, there is something every parent should be aware of: generally, a parent seeking to abduct a child will often make a false police report against the other parent on Thursday afternoons thru Friday afternoon in hope to have their targeted parent arrested and detained by law enforcement over the weekend so that while the child's other parent is in jail, they have an unimpeded path to depart the country.

When the abductor arrives in the inbound country where they had schemed to abduct the child to - they have established a paper trail of domestic abuse or violence reports that may provide the court in the foreign country with all the evidence they need to allow the abductor the right to keep the child there, thus becoming a 'liberator' as opposed to an 'abductor' because they created the false appearance that they had to run to protect their lives.

Remember, children under 16 years of age living in the United States, Canada, or Mexico are not required to present a valid passport when traveling within North America so long as they travel by land or sea under policies established by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative . . . . which means that a closed circuit cruise ship that starts and ends in the same port, but that may travel to foreign ports, is in fact a vehicle for abductors to use.

Hopefully the I CARE Foundation's efforts will cause our government to modify this policy and mandate that children traveling abroad, regardless of age must present a valid passport.

The Truth is that there are a substantial amount of warning signs of abduction, and parents need to pay attention to them TODAY.

Should you believe that your child is at risk of abduction, please contact a qualified attorney who has true experience litigating international child abduction prevention cases.

If child abduction is in process, please contact law enforcement immediately as well as a qualified attorney familiar with abduction. You should also immediately contact the United States Department of State's OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S ISSUES.

As the summer approaches, the reality is that thousands of children will be targeted for abduction. It is anticipated that several thousand children will be kidnapped abroad when combining reported and unreported cases of abduction.

Of these children taken, only a small number will ever return home . . . ever see their targeted parent again . . . ever return to the community they were raised in . . . ever see their family now left behind.

In the process, their identity will be stolen . . . who they are will be denied . . . they will learn to know hatred because that is what an abductor will preach to them in order to have that child hate their left behind parent . . . and they will live a life as a fugitive.

Most of all they will become prisoners illegally detained by a vengeful abductor who is using that child to cause harm and destruction to the other parent.

Tragically, these children will lose their innocence. As I said earlier, many will never come home . . . some simply will never have the opportunity to . . . . they can't.

For more information I urge you to visit the I CARE Foundation's website. You may also visit the official website for Chasing The Cyclone, which is the website of my deeply inspired novel about international child abduction that contains an extensive amount of resources. And of course, you should visit the United States Department Of States Official Website, particularly if abduction is in progress.

Protect yourself and your child. Educate yourself.

Click here to read how to stop international parental child abduction when a child may be issued two dual passports.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Japan Moves Toward Ratifying The Hague Convention. Will This Help Abducted Children Wrongfully Detained In Japan Today?

After more than a decade of urging from the U.S., including an unwaivering protest by a large number of American parents, primarily victimized fathers, Japan’s parliament on Wednesday finally gave the go-ahead for the government to ratify the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects Of International Child Abduction - an  international treaty for settling international child custody parental abduction disputes. The move by Japan's parlament offers hope to many chasing parents who were left-behind as their children were whisked away across the Pacific primarily by their Japanese mothers. But realistically, how much can present chasing parents left behind in the wake of their child's abduction count on unification with their children? 

The move by the Diet (Japan's parliament) will make Japan the 85th signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on Aspects of International Child Abduction appears on the surface to be a step in the right direction; however, Japan's final ratification of the treaty is not expected for another year. And during that time a lot can go wrong, including, potentially, women right activists in Japan who wrongfully think that every mother abducting their child to Japan was fleeing abuse.  As study after study has demonstrated - both women and men equally cite abuse when they try to have a court sanction their act of kidnapping. The vast majority of these claims are not true.

Is there hope? Yes. But we need to be reminded that there is a long way to go and now is not the time to stop putting pressure on Japan's government to ratify the Hague Convention under any circumstance.

For years, Japan has come under fierce criticism mainly from the U.S. fathers and more recently, American lawmakers, for its reluctance to join the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions due to cultural differences on how divorce and child custody is viewed and handled in their own homeland. Traditionally, during times of divorce in Japan, the courts grant the mother full sole custody, and the father of the children is permanantly removed from the child's life.

Welcome to insanity Japanese style.  In fact, it is estimated that there are well over 300,000 Japanese fathers seeking to reunite with their own chldren who have been removed from their lives by the courts. 

Legal experts welcomed Wednesday's decision, but said the treaty would have little effect unless it is accompanied by changes in Japan's domestic law. Courts in Japan routinely favor the Japanese parent – usually the mother – in custody cases involving international marriages.

"I am concerned that Japan won't implement the convention at face value," says Takao Tanase, a law professor at Chuo University in Tokyo. Mr. Tanase points to numerous loopholes in Japanese family law that could be cited to prevent the return of children to their original country of residence, including the suspicion – without any burden of proof – that the child could be exposed to harm or that the mother's welfare could be affected.

"Japanese law and the convention contradict each other, and this can be used as an excuse not to return the child," he said. "The tradition of awarding sole custody was introduced 60 years ago, but Japanese society has changed dramatically since then."

Yuichi Mayama, an upper house politician who has pushed for the legal change, was more optimistic. "This is a meaningful development," he said. "I'm delighted that Japan is finally catching up with the rest of the world."

But he added: "The tradition in Japan is to award sole custody, and that's supported by the law. Unless we change that we won't be able to use the convention properly. We take a very traditional view of the family in Japan, and changing that is going to take time."

The convention is intended to protect children from being taken to another country by one parent without permission in bitter custodial battles. While 89 countries have signed the convention, Japan has been the last member of the Group of Eight major nations holding out. But with Wednesday’s parliamentary approval, Tokyo is expected to ratify the treaty by next March, 2014. (Of the Group of Eight, it should be noted that Germany is consistantly considered a non-complying signatory member of the Hague Convention).

Japanese parliamentarians have long argued that the country’s single-custody tradition is incompatible with the Hague Convention. Unlike in the U.S. and many European countries, Japanese family law doesn’t recognize joint custody of children after divorce, and typically gives the mother full custody.

Like many other countries, Japan has seen an increase in mixed marriages—-a five-fold jump over the past 35 years. While these international marriages only account for about 4% of all marriages in Japan, they have a higher-than-average divorce rate. In 2011, about 40,000 international couples got married. In the same year, about 19,000 divorced, according to Mr. Mayama.

Given that a disproportionate number of American husbands make up the other half of mixed marriages, typical cases that would violate the Hague Convention consist of a divorced Japanese mother flying back to Japan with her child without permission or not allowing her child to return to the U.S. from Japan after a visit, then severing all contact with her American husband. Japanese women married more American men in 2011 than any other nationality except for Korean men, who are mostly permanent residents of Japan.

These international parental child abductions havee landed a number of Japanese mothers suspected of child abduction on the FBI’s most wanted parental kidnappings list. The U.S. State Department says that as of 2011, there are 100 active cases involving 140 American children wrongfully detained in Japan by a parent.  However, activist groups in the United States, who have their heart on the pulse of the real situation, have estimated that the number of children wrongfully detained are well over 300 (this is due to the fact that many targeted parents may not have reported their child's abduction to the Department of State since Japan is not a member of the Hague Convention). Additionally, the Asahi Shimbun reported Wednesday that Britain, Canada, and France each claim over 30 cases of their children being wrongfully kept in Japan.

Despite international parental child abduction being a U.S. Federal crime, parents who have fled to Japan with a kidnapped child have not faced concern of criminal charges because since Japan's laws do not make international parental child abduction a crime, Japan would not allow extradition proceedings to go forward against any of its citizens.  This theme - failure to extradite  - is something that the I CARE Foundation has spoken out about in the past, particularly in courts during abduction prevention cases whereas a sitting judge may think that they and U.S. law would have far reach abroad: it does not.

With hardly any domestic attention given to the matter, though, there has been little incentive to ratify a treaty mostly detrimental to Japanese nationals. Lawmakers who have rejected submitting the treaty to parliament in the past point to the need to protect women and children from domestic violence and abuse should courts forcibly expatriate mothers and children to overseas residences they have escaped from. In itself, the domestic violence claim against women appears to be a deflective way for some of Japan's politicians to not welcome change. And it clearly does not take into consideration the increase of domestic violence acts against men, or, more commonly, the use of false claims of domestic violence as a reason for a parent to abduct, knowing they may find protection under Article 13 of the Hague Convention.

But during a U.S. visit in February, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe surprised some by promising President Barack Obama he would seek approval for joining the convention. Mr. Abe’s visit was aimed at strengthening ties with Washington after a cooling in relations during the previous Japanese administration.

Progress?  Yes, however, Japan must still clear various governmental and legislative hurdles before the Hague Convention can take full effect. The government has said it aims for final ratification by the end of this fiscal year -- March 2014.

A central authority will be set up in the foreign ministry to take charge of locating children who have been removed by one parent following the collapse of an international marriage, and to encourage parents to settle disputes voluntarily.

If consultations fail, family courts in Tokyo and Osaka will issue rulings.

The law will, however, allow a parent to refuse to return a child if abuse or domestic violence is feared, a provision which campaigners say is vital, but which some say risks being exploited.

It will also allow for parents who separated before its enactment to apply to get a child returned. But it contains a provision stating that the application can be refused if a child has been resident in the country for a year or more and is happily settled.

Few foreign parents have much faith in the Japanese justice system as a means of getting back their children once they have been brought to Japan.

Are there concerns about the Japan's language in the new law passed that would make a child's return difficult?  Yes.

 There are others in Japan, primarily from women-rights groups that have concern about the Hague Convention.

Yumiko Suto, co-founder of a women's rights group, took issue with the convention on the grounds it would leave youngsters open to violence when she said, "What's worrying about the Hague Convention is that it won't protect victims of domestic violence, mothers and children who barely escaped alive from their violent husbands. It is very difficult for women and children in shelters to hide their whereabouts for a year... so the provision is not very helpful to them," adding that providing evidence of domestic violence in a foreign country is also difficult.

Kimio Ito, professor of sociology at Kyoto University, said he hopes Japanese domestic laws "will remove worries over domestic violence that the convention doesn't fully address".

Under growing pressure from Washington and other Western capitals, Japan has repeatedly pledged to sign the treaty into domestic law, but it has until now never made it through parliament.

With cautious reason to be excited that the nightmare of hundreds of children and their chasing parents left behind in the storms of abduction may soon be over for many, the reality still remains that Japan is at least one year away from final ratification, and in a country that has made promises to sign the convention many times in the past, there still remains a long road ahead for so many.

The following information has been shared by Paul Toland regarding pro bono legal assistance that may be available to U.S. parents to obtain access to their children in Japan using the provisions of the Hague Convention once Japan ratifies the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Paul is the contact point for this and his email address is

If you wish to have your case listed, the following is the information that should be submitted:

Contact Information
Phone Number:
Email Address:
Child/Children information
Child name:
Child Sex: (Male or Female)
Child Birth Date:
Child Abduction Date:
Last known address:

The following is the email from Paul Toland:

Subject: Article 21 Hague Convention Access Application – Requesting your response

Please forgive the length of this email, but it is important to be a thorough and clear as possible. With Japan nearing ratification of the Hague Convention, we have the opportunity to gain access to our children under Article 21 of the Hague, which reads:

“An application to make arrangements for organizing or securing the effective exercise of rights of access may be presented to the Central Authorities of the Contracting States in the same way as an application for the return of a child. The Central Authorities are bound by the obligations of co-operation which are set forth in Article 7 to promote the peaceful enjoyment of access rights and the fulfillment of any conditions to which the exercise of those rights may be subject. The Central Authorities shall take steps to remove, as far as possible, all obstacles to the exercise of such rights.

The Central Authorities, either directly or through intermediaries, may initiate or assist in the institution of proceedings with a view to organizing or protecting these rights and securing respect for the conditions to which the exercise of these rights may be subject.”

I know this is not what everyone wants, we want our children returned, but my attorney, renowned Hague attorney Stephen Cullen, has told me that if done properly and en masse, simultaneous delivery of dozens or perhaps hundreds of Hague Access applications in the immediate aftermath of Hague Ratification by Japan would severely test Japan and put them on notice that we’re watching their compliance. Stephen is perhaps one the foremost Hague attorneys in the US (Baltimorean of the Year in 2004, American Bar Association Pro Bono Attorney of the Year 2003, Maryland Trial Attorney of the Year in 2008, etc.) having litigated over 200 Hague Abduction Cases, with well over 100 successful returns. He has VOLUNTEERED to submit Hague Applications for ANY AND ALL JAPAN ABDUCTION CASES PRO BONO.

The plan would be to hold an event in DC shortly after Japan ratifies the Hague, where we march en masse from his office on K Street in DC to the State Department to deliver the Hague Article 21 Access Applications. We would do this march in front of members of the press and garner as much publicity as we can. Additionally we would do a symbolic delivery of the Applications in front of the Japanese Embassy as well (although the actual applications would be delivered from our Central Authority, the State Department, to Japan’s Central Authority). First, though, Japan has to ratify the Hague and Stephen has to prepare the applications.

Questions and Answers:

1. Question: Who can submit an Article 21 Hague Application:

    Answer: ANYONE who is a US Citizen and has a US Citizen or dual-national child in Japan that they do not currently have access to. This includes what have historically been referred to as both “Abduction” cases and “Access” cases.

2. Question: Will performing an Article 21 Hague Application affect my ongoing legal case in any way?

    Answer: No, if you have Warrants out for the arrest of your former spouse, those warrants still stand. This is simply a request to have access to your child under Article 21 of the Hague.

3. Question: I am American, but I do not currently live in the United States, can I still submit an Article 21 Hague Application to see my child?

    Answer: Yes.

4. Question: Will this process subject me to the Jurisdiction of the Japanese courts, and affect the US Court jurisdiction over my case?

    Answer: It will not affect your US jurisdiction of your case, but the Japanese court system may be utilized under the Hague in facilitating the access to your child. The extent to which the Japanese court system will be used is really a matter of how the Hague implementing legislation is written in Japan.

5. Question: I am not a US Citizen. Can I participate?

    Answer: Yes and no. You cannot file via Stephen Cullen with the US State Department. However, you can file an Article 21 Hague Access application through your country of citizenship, and I highly encourage you to do so to further test Japan’s system.

6. Question: What will this cost me?

    Answer: Stephen, whose normal attorney fees are about $800 per hour, is doing this PRO BONO. There will probably only be small costs associated with copying, and filing fees.

So what’s the first step? Stephen has asked me to collect as many names as possible of as many parents who would be interested in filing Hague Article 21 Applications. We are hoping to get at least 50, and if we get 100 that would be a tremendous success. I will collect your information centrally for Stephen and then his office will be contacting you to begin the process. I am not sure if he will begin the process prior to Japan’s ratification of the Hague or after. I will let you know when I find out.

For now, though, please provide some basic information to me so I can collect it for Stephen. Your name, your current address, phone, email address, and the names and ages of your children. Stephen’s office will collect more information after the process begins, but for now, I’m simply trying to get a parent and child head count and contact information.

Please distribute this request as far and wide as you can among the community of US Citizen parents who have had their children taken from them to or within Japan. The more parents we get, the better!

(End Paul Toland communication)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Are The Top 100 New York Social Events For 2013.

What are the Top 100 Events For 2013 In New York City?

What are the Top 100 Events For 2013 In New York City?

Well here they are ... and speaking from experience having attended many of these events in the past, this is a great list! Of course, you'll need to shed a few dollars . . .


Fashion Industry Events

Advertising Industry Events

Media Events

Entertainment Industry Events

Tech Industry Events

Art, Design & Architecture Events

Food & Restaurant Industry Events

Political & Diplomatic Events

PR Industry Events

Beauty Industry Events

Trade Shows & Conventions

Hospitality Industry Events


Sports Events

Parades, Festivals & Holiday Events

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