Diplomatic efforts organized through the State Department have not been effective. It is difficult for the state to intervene in what has traditionally been an intensely personal problem. No left-behind parent has the patience to wait for years of "process."
So far, however, they have had to wait.
Congress can hammer on the White House and State Department to work harder and faster. It can also use its internationally-watched bully pulpit to highlight an injustice. But to do this, it must first see the fight as winnable. Congress must also believe that the issue has universal appeal.
To work in this atmosphere, the advocates for the left-behind parents need to be: an united group that speaks with one voice and able to convince Members of Congress that they are fighting for some higher goal than carrying out individual divorce decrees. Both are difficult to achieve.
The effort to address the issue of a "higher goal" and to show how child abduction violates established international norms, the Tom Lantos Human Right's Commission will hold a hearing on International Child Abduction on December 2nd at 10:30 am on Capitol Hill. At least two of the parents testifying will discuss child abduction to Japan.
The Commission was created in 2008 to formally institutionalize the Congressional Human Rights Caucus (CHRC). Its mission is to promote, defend and advocate internationally recognized human rights norms in a nonpartisan manner, both within and outside of Congress, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments. Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Congressman Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) co-chair the Commission.
The Commission is to develop congressional strategies to promote, defend, and advocate for international human rights norms. Child abduction is now a human rights issue.