Thursday, March 22, 2001

Chabot to discuss abducted children

Summit in the Hague tackles custody issues

By Derrick DePledge
Enquirer Washington Bureau

        WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, will join a State Department delegation to the Hague, Netherlands, next week to discuss international child abductions.

        Diplomats will review how countries are following a 1980 treaty that requires officials, under most circumstances, to return abducted children to the country of their birth for court hearings on custody. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction has been signed by more than 50 countries, including the United States.

        Mr. Chabot, who serves on the House International Relations Committee, became involved in the issue on behalf of a Blue Ash man whose daughter was kidnapped by her mother and taken to Austria five years ago. Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas, an advocate for the parents of kidnapped children, will also make the trip.

        Mr. Chabot and Mr. Lampson have sponsored a nonbinding resolution in the House urging nations that have signed the treaty to develop compliance guidelines. The two congressmen were behind a nonbinding resolution that passed Congress last year asking countries to follow the rules of the convention.

Blue Ash man seeks help

        Tom Sylvester, an automotive executive, has appealed to Mr. Chabot and government officials in the United States and Austria to untangle a custody struggle with his ex-wife over their 6-year-old daughter, Carina.

        Austrian authorities, despite court rulings in Mr. Sylvester's favor, have decided that the girl should stay with her mother.

        Mr. Chabot raised the issue at a congressional hearing two weeks ago with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

        “While attempting to help Mr. Sylvester, I've had the opportunity to meet with a number of other left-behind parents who face similar situations,” he said. “I've tried to help send a strong message to the offending parties that the United States government is not going to stand idly by.”


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