Senate Calls on Brazilian Authorities and Courts To Comply with International Law

WASHINGTON, DC- The Senate last night passed a resolution authored by Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) urging Brazil to comply with the requirements of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and reunite Sean Goldman with his father in the United States.  

“For nearly five years, David Goldman has been fighting to be reunited with his son Sean,” Lautenberg said.  “Passing this resolution puts the United States Senate on record urging Brazil to comply with international law.  Sean belongs at home with his father and I will keep working until Sean returns to the United States.”

“This has been a heartbreaking story of a New Jersey family torn apart, but we want to help ensure that it has the best ending possible,” Menendez said. “Amidst the international legal and diplomatic wrangling that is ongoing, there is one fact at the core of this case that cannot be forgotten – a young boy and his father have been kept apart for years and prevented from reuniting. The Brazilian authorities must realize that there are basic issues of family at the heart of this matter and that Sean rightfully belongs with his father.”

“By passing this resolution, the Senate recognizes Mr. Goldman’s courage and perseverance in his fight for the custody of his son, as well as the incredible support from not only friends and family, but people whom he has never met but who are no less troubled by this injustice,” Feingold said.  “I urge the Obama administration to continue to push for the swift reunification of Mr. Goldman and his son.”

“No parent should have to wake up to find that their child has been abducted and they shouldn’t have to face these obstacles to get them back,” said Casey.  “I am pleased that the Senate passed this resolution and I continue to urge the Brazilian authorities to expedite cases like David’s.”

“Mr. Goldman deserves to be reunited with his son as his rightful guardian. He has diligently worked through all of the proper channels to ensure that he regains custody of his son legally. I call on the Government of Brazil, especially the federal courts, to live up to its commitment under the Hague Convention agreement and international law and return Sean to his biological father. Instances like this are far too common and we need to work to resolve them as quickly as possible.”

Sean Goldman, who is eight years old, was taken to Brazil by his mother, Bruna Goldman, in 2004 and kept in Brazil without the consent of his father – David Goldman.  David Goldman has since waged a legal battle to get his son back.  

Bruna Goldman passed away in 2008.  Sean Goldman is currently in Brazil with his stepfather.  Only recently was David Goldman allowed by Brazilian authorities to visit with Sean for the first time since he was taken to Brazil.

In January, Sen. Lautenberg personally met with David Goldman and U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Clifford Sobel in separate meetings about the abduction case.  In addition, Sen. Lautenberg and Sen. Menendez earlier this year sent a letter calling on Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to follow international law and assist in the return of Sean Goldman to his father.

Under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to which both the U.S. and Brazil are signatories, a child who is a habitual resident in one party country, and who has been removed to another party country in violation of a parent's custodial rights, is to be returned to the country of habitual residence.  However, Sean Goldman was not returned to the U.S. and instead has been in Brazil for more than four years.  The Senators’ resolution urges Brazilian authorities to comply with international law.


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