'Bring Sean Home' Campaign Comes to White House
Congressman Chris Smith addressed a throng of supporters from the growing "Bring Sean Home" movement who gathered outside the White House today to urge Brazilian President Lula, who is visiting the Oval Office to meet President Obama, to expedite the lawful return of an American boy kidnapped over four years ago.
The following are excerpts from Congressman Smith's remarks:
We welcome you President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to Washington D.C. and to the White House today and want you to know that the American people deeply respect, admire and honor the Brazilian people and cherish the deep and abiding bond of friendship between our two nations.
Today, President Lula, we renew our earnest request for your personal intervention in immediately reuniting young Sean Goldman with his dad, David, in New Jersey.
Four and a half years of unlawful separation has resulted in unbearable pain, agony and violation. Justice delayed is justice denied. I fully understand that the pursuit of social justice isn't always convenient or easy. It is often the road that is less traveled. But it's always right. The time for action is now.
Both of our governments fully understand the profound injustice of child abduction and unlawful retention even if the kidnapper happens to be a parent. That's why both of our governments wisely ratified and acceded to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Respectfully, we ask you to fulfill your international treaty obligation and bring Sean home.
As you know, Mr. President, the Hague Convention prescribes clear, unambiguous actions that must be fulfilled by responsible parties.
In accordance with international law including and especially with the "expeditious return" provisions of the Hague Convention, Brazil's only legitimate and legal option is to effectuate Sean's safe return to New Jersey.
Mr. President, last month I had the extraordinary privilege of joining Sean and his dad in their first meeting in four and a half years. Until last month's reunion, David had been repeatedly denied the opportunity to visit with or even see his son. That's unconscionable. I can bear witness to the fact that Sean, now almost nine was delighted to see his dad. The love and familial bond between father and son was robust, heartwarming, and obvious.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted 418 to 0 urging the Brazilian government to bring about the return of Sean Goldman to his dad in the United States with "extreme urgency."
Mr. President, both our cultures esteem and value the paramount importance of the family, and the proper role and responsibility of parents in raising their children.
Hague is predicated on sound moral values and bedrock of family policy, as well as transparency and reciprocity.
It is time to bring Sean home. You, President Lula, can make the difference.