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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Goldman Act at Five Years

Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 2:00pm
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on “The Goldman Act at Five Years.” 

So as to better address the problem of international child abduction and to help implement the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction more effectively, Congress passed the Sean and David Goldman Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (P.L. 113-150) exactly five years to the date of this hearing.  The purpose of the Hague framework is to resolve child abductions quickly, minimize disruption and emotional damage to children, and ensure that the custody decisions of one country are respected in other countries.  While the Convention has helped shaped international norms, only 100 nations have ratified it, and some states parties are not fully compliant. 

Between 2008 and 2018, more than 11,400 American children were abducted internationally by a parent. Per the State Department, only one-third of the children abducted since 2015 have been returned to the United States within two years. The Goldman Act provides Congress with data regarding child abductions and authorizes tools for the State Department to use to influence countries to abide by international obligations.  It also encourages formation of bilateral agreements with non-Hague countries. 

The purpose of this hearing is to assess the 2019 Annual Report on International Child Abduction to ascertain whether the State Department is making progress, per the Goldman Act, in resolving international parental child abduction cases.  The hearing will include testimony from the State Department, as well as a prominent international family law attorney whose work informed the drafting of the Goldman Act and a left-behind parent who will relate her personal experience with respect to international child abduction.

This hearing will be open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via the Commission website and will also be available for viewing on Channel 60 of the House Digital Channel service. For any questions, please contact Piero Tozzi at 202-225-3765 (for Rep. Smith) or Kimberly Stanton at 202-225-3599 (for Rep. McGovern).   

Hosted by:

Christopher H. Smith
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Co-Chair, TLHRC
Co-Chair, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • Carl C. Risch, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State
    Written testimony

Panel II


Submitted for the Record 


116th Congress