In a somber address during a May 16th Open House on International Parental Abduction, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged her commitment to bring abducted U.S. children home, increase federal interagency collaboration, and push nonsignatory countries to ratify the 1980 Hague Abduction Convention:

I’m sorry that you’ve had this terrible experience of being separated from your child or your children. One day is too long, years is just unthinkable. There’s really not much that I or any of our officials can say that will fill the anger and frustration, disappointment, the big hole in the center of your hearts, but we wanted you to come today so at least you would know what we are trying to do to help you be reunited … I decided that we would redouble, triple our efforts to do everything we possibly could. Assistant Secretary Janice Jacobs was eager to partner with me to try to figure out a path forward.

Less than half of the world’s sovereign states are currently U.S. treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Abduction Convention, and a number of partner countries are not complying with their treaty obligations.  “We believe that The Hague Convention is the best tool for deterring and resolving abductions” said Secretary Clinton, “so we want more and more countries to join.”  She encouraged left-behind parents to share their ideas about how to improve the U.S. response to international parental kidnapping and bring abducted children home.  Both Secretary Clinton and President Obama have raised individual missing children’s cases at the highest levels during diplomatic visits abroad.

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