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Ottawa 2024 Wrap-up

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This April 23-26, we gathered again in Ottawa to advocate for our abducted children. Nine of us were able to attend in person — in some cases crossing the country to be there — and we brought statements, questions, and stories from other parents and families around the country who have lost children to parental abduction. We represent approximately 50 abducted Canadian children, and too few of us have seen a resolution to our cases.

This was our 3rd annual conference, and again followed the pattern from previous years, inspired by iStand Parent Network’s conference. iStand has recently wrapped up operations and we send them our gratitude for their years of trailblazing; their work lives on with us, but also with The Coalition To End Parental Child Abduction and its member organizations, Shine The Light for Aducted Children, and everyone else working globally to end parental child abduction. More on some of these groups and their work later.

We held embassy walks to visit representatives of harbouring countries, this year visiting the Indian High Commissioner, Honduran embassy, Paraguayan embassy, and Lebanese embassy.

We held a vigil on Parliament Hill, bringing the shoes of our abducted children, along with artwork, stories, and statements on behalf of parents who were not able to attend.

We hosted several meeting sessions, drawing on expertise from Anver M. Emon (University of Toronto) and Urfan Khaliq (Cardiff University), authors of Jurisdictional Exceptionalisms; Dr. Noelle Hunter, activist and lecturer at the University of Alabama in Huntsville; and Rasha Kayal of iHope, an organization pursuing strategic litigation in Lebanon to resolve IPCA. We are grateful for their generosity and efforts to help our cause, and will share more on these sessions in the near future.

We were generously hosted by Global Affairs Canada for a 3rd year, meeting this time with members of the Consular Case Management team, Consular Policy and Programs (CPP), Justice Canada, Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It is clear that international parental child abduction transgresses not just borders but responsibilities within governments, and the divided nature of Canadian jurisdiction even further complicates matters for seeking parents. We hope to continue our engagement with these agencies. Again, more on these conversations soon.

Last but not least, we are eternally grateful to Boccato Gelato & Crepes and East India Company for hosting us for our art night and fundraiser. And of course the army of friends, artists and helpers on the ground in Ottawa — you know who you are. Your ongoing care and support make a tremendous difference in our lives.

Sincerely —
Saurabh, Jolly, Pradeep, Alec, and sometimes Elena
2024 Conference Committee