I'm starting to think that the Hague Convention is basically an updated version of the U.S.'s 1850 Fugitive Slave Act--it's a way to force battered mothers and children to return to their owner/husband, even after they had escaped the slave-holding (i.e. fathers rights controlled) jurisdiction. These is the brave new world the fathers rights movement has created--a lot like the bad old days, where you were either the ruling aristocracy or chattel property with all the rights of dirt. UNNAMED DAD in this case.
Aussie girls in hiding to avoid going to Italy with father despite Family Court order
by: By Tuck Thompson
From: The Courier-Mail
May 15, 2012 12:00AM
•Relative vows to protect girls amid court order
•"I will go to jail and wear orange if that's what it takes"
•Siblings have said they're afraid of their dad
FOUR Queensland sisters are on the run today, desperate to avoid going back to Italy with a father who they claim physically abused them and their mother for years.
A relative whisked the girls away to an undisclosed location yesterday as state bureaucrats accelerated the handover following intense media scrutiny.
"I will go to jail and wear orange if that's what it takes to protect those kids," the relative told family members before disappearing with the girls after picking them up from school.
The girls all told The Courier-Mail they were afraid of their father's violent temper and beatings and wanted to stay in Queensland with their mother, 32, who said she fled Italy two years ago with the help of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Australian Embassy.
It also was revealed the father received legal assistance as he pursued his case to remove the girls, who are dual Australian-Italian citizens.
Their mother, who said losing her daughters would be "akin to death", asked Premier Campbell Newman to intervene.
"Everyone is being so supportive, they understand what this is doing to us," she said.
The distraught mother said she went to Italian police four times to report violent incidents but they discouraged her from pressing charges because her children would be ostracised as being from a "bad family".
She said he had struck her at least 10 times and repeatedly hit his daughters, who confirmed the violent incidents to The Courier-Mail.
The eldest sister said her finger was broken during a beating and another sister said she was beaten with a wooden spoon.
The father is currently in Brisbane being represented by a solicitor who refused to comment on the allegations and refused to disclose the whereabouts of his client.
The eldest sister had planned to meet with her father for the first time since 2010 yesterday to urge him to return to Italy and leave her sisters and mother alone. But the Department of Communities instead contacted the mother's solicitor demanding an immediate handover of the children before that meeting.
"That decision arises, I understand, from media coverage," the solicitor told the mother.
A veteran Family Law practitioner has accused the Government of blindly "ticking the boxes" to follow Hague Convention rules meant to protect children without applying common sense.
"What is the bloody psychological impact on these kids?" he said. "It's completely out of order for the girls to have no say in their future. They are old enough to have a voice."
The girls said they would have to be handcuffed, sedated and carried on to the plane.
The Family Court ruling rejected the mother's appeal of an earlier decision holding that she didn't have the father's consent to take the children from Italy.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?
AUSTRALIA is a signatory to The Hague Convention anti-child abduction treaty.
Designed to return children who had been abducted by a parent who moved to another country, the treaty can take priority over other legal protections especially if cases are not properly investigated.
The four Sunshine Coast girls have uniformly protested their removal from Australia into the hands of a man they fear, and who they say has abused them in the past.
The National Child Protection Alliance says the rights of the children are not being protected.