Smith Introduces the Philips-Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act

News Item

A new source of hope for left behind parents
Smith Introduces the Philips-Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act

Washington, Jul 28, 2017
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), author of the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (P.L 113-150), introduced an innovative new bill that will automatically remove tariff benefits for countries that are found to be out of compliance in returning children home—the “Bindu Philips and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act of 2017.”
“Bindu Philips fought valiantly in India for over eight years for the return of her abducted twin sons, only to be given the incessant delays in India’s courts and little support from the Obama Administration,” said Smith, Chair of the House panel on global human rights. “Just recently, she was finally granted a short visit with her children in India, but the children’s father marred the time with harassment and monitoring, refusing to let the children and mother leave a hotel for 7 days.
“Devon Davenport has had a return order for his daughter, Nadia, from Brazil since 2009. He has won every single one of the 24 appeals against the order—but Brazil still will not enforce its own return order.
“Shockingly, 11 of the 13 countries found to be non-compliant in the annual Goldman Report by the U.S. State Department in the return of abducted American children are still receiving billions of dollars in tariff exemptions under the Generalized System of Preferences. We must cease rewarding countries that aid abductors. When is enough finally enough?”
In 2016, 629 American children were taken from the United States by one parent without the consent of the other, often in direct violation of valid United States court orders, United States criminal law and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Obama Administration’s refusal to apply sanctions against countries that fail to return abducted children has led to a rate of return of only 16%.
“For years, the U.S. government response to abductions has been an engraved invitation to abductors,” said Smith. “Abductors have an 84% chance of no penalty for ripping their child from home and family in the United States. It is my hope and expectation that this year, the State Department will begin to act more decisively on behalf of American families so that more children come home.”
The new bill amends the Generalized System of Preferences, a trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world through duty free entry for some products, so that any country named as non-compliant in the prompted resolutions of abductions would lose trade benefits granted by the United States. The new legislation ensures that the loss of trade preference would be automatic and not dependent on the Executive Branch applying sanctions.
Abducted children in a foreign country are often blocked from any contact with the American parent, losing half of their family and heritage.  Such children are also at grave risk of serious emotional and psychological problems. Many such children experience anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, aggressive behavior, resentment and fear. Every day the abduction continues only compounds these harms.
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Source:  “Smith Introduces the Philips-Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act”, News Item, Congressman Chris Smith’s website, published on 28 July 2017

 

On Pearl Harbor visit, Abe pledges Japan will never wage war again

World

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a symbolic visit to Pearl Harbor with President Barack Obama on Tuesday, commemorating the victims of Japan’s World War Two attack and promising that his country would never wage war again.

The visit, just weeks before Republican President-elect Donald Trump takes office, was meant to highlight the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance amid concerns that Trump could forge a more complicated relationship with Tokyo.

“I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives here, as well as to the spirits of all the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced in this very place,” Abe said.

“We must never repeat the horrors of war again. This is the solemn vow we, the people of Japan, have taken.”

Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor with torpedo planes, bombers and fighter planes on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, pounding the U.S. fleet moored there in the hope of destroying U.S. power in the Pacific.

Abe did not apologise for the attack, a step that would have irked his conservative supporters, many of whom say U.S. economic sanctions forced Japan to open hostilities.

“This visit to Pearl Harbor was to console the souls of the war dead, not to apologise,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo, adding the trip had showed that the allies would contribute to world peace and prosperity.

Obama, who earlier this year became the first incumbent U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, where the United States dropped an atomic bomb in 1945, called Abe’s visit a “historic gesture” that was “a reminder that even the deepest wounds of war can give way to friendship and a lasting peace.”

Abe became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, although three others including his grandfather had made quiet stops in Pearl Harbor in the 1950s.

The two leaders stood solemnly in front of a wall inscribed with the names of those who died in the 1941 attack and took part in a brief wreath-laying ceremony, followed by a moment of silence.


“In Remembrance, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan” was written on one wreath and “In Remembrance, Barack Obama, President of the United States” on the other.

They then threw flower petals into the water.

After their remarks, both leaders greeted and Abe embraced U.S. veterans who survived the Pearl Harbor attack.

In China, which has repeatedly urged Japan to show greater repentance for World War Two and Japan’s invasion of China, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said real reflection was needed, not show.

“Reconciliation between inflictor and victim must and can only be established on the basis of sincere and deep reflection by the inflictor,” Hua told a daily news briefing.

DISPLAY OF ALLIANCE STRENGTH

Japan hopes to present a strong alliance with the United States amid concerns about China’s expanding military capability.

During a meeting ahead of the Pearl Harbor visit, Abe and Obama agreed to closely monitor moves by China’s aircraft carrier, recently spotted on a routine drill in the Western Pacific for the first time, and to strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported.

The leaders’ get-together was also meant to reinforce the U.S.-Japan partnership ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump, whose opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and campaign threat to force allied countries to pay more to host U.S. forces raised concerns among allies such as Japan.

Source:  “On Pearl Habor visit, Abe pledges Japan will never wage war again”, Reuters, 28 December 2016

Early summer 2016 – Green Park

Hello Hugo

I am not sure whether you went to see President Obama when he visited your city yesterday but the visit is bound to rank as one of the most significant days for Hiroshima in your childhood.

Earlier this week I had to visit a client at a prison in Surrey. I didn’t have to be there until 9am but generally get up very early these days. Whilst travelling through central London I got off the subway at Green Park station and walked through the park down to Buckingham Palace as I had some spare time. Below are the photographs I took; there were very few people around as it was before 7am.

Green Park 1

Green Park 2

Green Park 3

Green Park 4

Green Park 5

Green Park 6

Green Park 7

Green Park 8

Green Park 9

Green Park 10

Green Park 11

Green Park 12

 

 

Hiroshima visit by Obama

BBC

Hiroshima memory must never fade, Obama says on historic visit

  • 10 minutes ago
  • From the section Asia
  • 44 comments
Obama hugs atomic bomb survivor Shigeaki Mori, 27 MayImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Obama hugged atomic bomb survivor Shigeaki Mori

Barack Obama has become the first serving US president to visit Hiroshima since the World War Two nuclear attack.

Mr Obama said the memory of 6 August 1945 must never fade, but did not apologise for the US attack – the world’s first and only nuclear bombing.

Mr Obama spoke to a number of survivors and in an address called on nations to pursue a world without nuclear weapons.

At least 140,000 people died in Hiroshima and another 74,000 two days later in a second bombing in Nagasaki.

‘Best of friends’

Mr Obama first visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum before walking to the Peace Memorial Park, accompanied by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Both men stood in front of the eternal flame. Mr Obama laid a wreath first, followed by Mr Abe.

“Death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Mr Obama said in his address, noting that the bombing had shown that “mankind possessed the means to destroy itself”.

Mr Obama said the memory of Hiroshima must never fade: “It allows us to fight complacencies, fuels our moral imagination and allows us to change.”

Of nuclear weapons, he said: “We must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.”


The bomb that changed the world


Mr Obama had earlier flown into the nearby Iwakuni Marine Corp base nearby, after leaving the G7 summit.

Mr Obama told service personnel at the base: “This is an opportunity to honour the memory of all who were lost during World War Two.”

Mr Obama praised the US-Japan alliance as “one of the strongest in the world”, with his visit “a testament to how even the most painful divides can be bridged – how our two nations, former adversaries, cannot just become partners, but become the best of friends and the strongest of allies”.

The BBC’s John Sudworth, in Hiroshima, says that although Mr Obama made it clear there would be no apology for the attack, few would deny that this was a deeply symbolic gesture; the leader of the only country ever to have used an atomic weapon laying a wreath in a city that has come to symbolise the perils of our nuclear age.

Obama lays wreath, 27 MayImage copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Obama and Mr Abe both laid wreaths at the Peace Memorial Park
Barack Obama, 27 May, Iwakuni baseImage copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Obama praised US troops for their sacrifices, in his speech at the Iwakuni marine base

Many in the US believe the use of the nuclear bomb, though devastating, was right, because it forced Japan to surrender, bringing an end to World War Two.

The daughter of one survivor, who was visiting the memorial on Friday, said the suffering had “carried on over the generations”.

“That is what I want President Obama to know,” Han Jeong-soon, 58, told the Associated Press news agency. “I want him to understand our sufferings.”

Seiki Sato, whose father was orphaned by the bomb, told the New York Times: “We Japanese did terrible, terrible things all over Asia. That is true. And we Japanese should say we are sorry because we are so ashamed, and we have not apologised sincerely to all these Asian countries. But the dropping of the atomic bomb was completely evil.”

‘Just listen’ – Japan’s media on the visit

The Chugoku Shimbun urges Mr Obama to “hear the voices of Hiroshima”. “The people of Hiroshima will be watching the president closely, eyeing to what extent he is truly resolved to advance the abolition of nuclear arms,” it said.

The Asahi Shimbun carries an article saying Mr Obama’s “gestures will shape the visit”, with the “most powerful gesture” being to “just listen to the bomb victims’ memories of suffering and activism”.

The Japan Times says: “To truly pay homage to those whose lives were lost or irrevocably altered by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, Obama’s visit must galvanise the international community to move without delay toward a world free of nuclear weapons. The fact that these weapons have not been used over the past 70 years does not guarantee a risk-free future for our children.”

Source: BBC Monitoring


Jimmy Carter visited Hiroshima in 1984, after the end of his presidency.

A US ambassador attended the annual commemoration for the first time in 2010.


Hiroshima – world’s first nuclear attack

  • The bomb was nicknamed “Little Boy” and was thought to have the explosive force of 20,000 tonnes of TNT
  • Paul Tibbets, a 30-year-old colonel from Illinois, led the mission to drop the atomic bomb on Japan
  • The Enola Gay, the plane which dropped the bomb, was named in tribute to Col Tibbets’ mother
  • The final target was decided less than an hour before the bomb was dropped. The good weather conditions over Hiroshima sealed the city’s fate
  • On detonation, the temperature at the burst-point of the bomb was several million degrees. Thousands of people on the ground were killed or injured instantly

The hours before the bomb was dropped

The ‘sanitised narrative’ of Hiroshima bombing

In pictures: The first atomic bomb

Source:  “Hiroshima memory must never fade, says Obama on historic visit”, BBC News, 27 May 2016