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Australian children reunited with mother after being abducted by father and taken to Afghanistan in 2012

kid joinTwo Australian children who were abducted by their father and taken to Afghanistan two-and-a-half years ago have been returned to their mother in an emotional reunion at Perth Airport.

Eight-year-old Aliah and five-year-old Faisal (not their real names) were brought back to Australia after US lawyer Kimberley Motley spent months trying to track them down.

“These two kids have unfortunately been missing since 2012 and no-one knew where exactly they were, which country they were in,” Ms Motley said.

After a global search, Ms Motley found the children last week living in Afghanistan with people who were not their relatives.

Their father had left Afghanistan before the children were found. Their mother had not seen them since 2012.
With the help of the Western Australian Family Court and Legal Aid, Ms Motley and the children’s mother were able to get the support of Afghan authorities to find and retrieve the children.

“They have just sort of been in hiding in Afghanistan for a number of years unfortunately not going to school, and just not being allowed to go back to their homeland,” Ms Motley said.

“They are not speaking English any more, they have strong feelings against their mother to which they’ve been brainwashed.”

Community group calls for criminalisation of abductions

According to the Coalition of Parents of Abducted Children support group, Australia has one of the highest rates of international parental child abduction in the world.

“About 300 children [per year] or almost one child a day is taken out of Australia to other countries without the consent of the other parent,” the group’s founder Ken Thompson said.

He said criminalising international parental child abductions would help reduce the number of cases and make it easier for parents to get their children back.
“Australia is one of the few countries where it is not a criminal offence and by not being a criminal offence it makes it extremely difficult for parents whose children have been abducted to locate the child,” he said.

“The parent has to act as the investigator, the parent has to act as the lawyer, the parent has to spend enormous amounts of money to gain access to information that might lead to the location of their child.

“And that information is information that is freely available to the Australian Federal Police but their hands are tied because they can’t act because it is not a criminal offence.”

He said children who were abducted abroad by a parent suffered serious emotional trauma.

“In every single case the children are subject to extreme forms of emotional abuse by the parent who has taken the child,” Mr Thompson said.

“International parental abduction is recognised internationally as one of the most extreme forms of abuse that a parent can inflict on their own child.”

Ms Motley says both the children and their mother will need a lot of support.

“These kids are going to have some psychological sort of counselling, some sort of reintegration, some program,” she said.

“They are going to need a little bit of work to get them reintegrated back into Australian society but one good thing is that they are kids and kids are resilient and they bounce back a lot quicker than adults would.”
Source: ABC