The U.S. government has told Guatemala it won't return a girl adopted in 2008 after being snatched from her Guatemalan mother, because the two countries had not signed the Hague Abduction Convention at the time of the kidnapping, a Guatemalan official said Monday.I find the reasoning bizarre -- why would the date of the abduction be the determinative date? The adoption -- the creation of a legal status -- occurred almost a full year AFTER ratification of the Hague Convention by the U.S. and Guatemala. Thus, the legality of the adoption should be determined under the Hague Convention.
Foreign Relations Ministry spokeswoman Celeste Alvarado quoted a diplomatic cable from the U.S. State Department as saying the two countries formally ratified the convention on Jan. 1, 2008, more than a year after toddler Anyeli Hernandez Rodriguez was abducted in November 2006.
Alvarado said the U.S. note cites Hague Convention articles indicating it isn't required to return the child if there was no treaty in force at the time.
The girl was adopted by a Missouri couple, and a Guatemalan judge ordered last year that the girl be returned.
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A leading Guatemalan activist in the case disagreed with the State Department's position, arguing that the U.S. government is obligated under international treaties to return victims of human trafficking or irregular adoptions that have occurred within the past five years.
The girl left the country on Dec. 9, 2008, according to court records, and that date and not her abduction date should be taken into account, said Claudia Hernandez, assistant director of the Survivors Foundation, a human rights group that filed the court case for the child's biological mother, Loyda Rodriguez.
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