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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

International Child Abduction and Parental Access

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 - 10:30am
1310 Longworth House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a timely hearing to discuss barriers and solutions to the growing problem of international child abduction.  In the last three years, reported cases of international child abduction have increased 60 percent.  In some countries, such as Japan, no mechanism exists for the return of American children.  Current mechanisms for resolving abductions with other countries, such as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, often fail for lack of enforcement.   

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Hoffman (Rep. Wolf) or Hans Hogrefe (Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599.

Hosted by:

Frank R. Wolf
Member of Congress
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • David Goldman, father of Sean Goldman who has been held in Brazil since 2004
    Written testimony
  • Commander Paul Toland, father of Erica Toland who as been held in Japan since 2003
    Written testimony
  • Patrick Braden, father of Melissa Braden who has been held in Japan since 2006
    Written testimony
  • Tom Sylvester, father of Carina Sylvester who was abducted to Austria in 1995
    Written testimony

Panel II

  • Ernie Allen, President and CEO, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 
    Written testimony
  • Kristin Wells, international law expert
  • Patricia Apy, international child custody expert, law firm of Paras, Apy, Reiss
    Written testimony
  • Judge Peter Messitte, U.S. District Court, Maryland, and U.S. Representative, Judicial Network on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
    Written testimony
  • Bernie Aronson, former Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs
    Written testimony
  • Alison Smith, legislative attorney, Congressional Research Service


Reps. McGovern, Wolf and Smith

111th Congress