Dominican Republic's failure to honor the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
On July 15th, 2009 I filed a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction with the Office of Children's Issues at the United States State Department for the return of my daughter Kali Soleil Athukorala, a United States citizen, from the Dominican Republic.
In August, 2009, the United States State Department received a response from the Dominican Republic stating that they believe my petition is invalid. In their response they have very clearly if not blatantly mis-interpreted the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The Dominican Republic became a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in June, 2007. In becoming a signatory to this convention the Dominican government has said that it will honor its obligations under that convention to return children who have been abducted from other countries to their country. In my case the Dominican government has so far shown that it is not abiding by it's obligations under that convention.
As a nation we can only combat injustices if we act together. While I am asking for your help for the return of my daughter the actions we take as a nation will send a message to governments that do not honor their obligations under international treaties and will hopefully prevent another parent from living through the nightmare me and other left behind parents are living today.
Call the Dominican Embassy
The Dominican Republic's government is currently allowing the abduction of a 2-year old child and citizen of the United States to their country despite having signed an international treaty that obliges them to return abducted children to their home states or habitual residences.
If you are a United States citizen please call the Dominican Embassy in Washington D.C. and tell them of your displeasure at their refusal to honor their obligations under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and return Kali Soleil Athukorala to her home in Massachusetts. Kali Soleil is not the only child who has been abducted to the Dominican Republic from the United States. Abductions to the Dominican Republic from the United States have increased significantly over the last two years.
The Dominican Republic became a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in June 2007. It sent a message to the international community that it would take child abduction seriously by signing that convention.
It appears now that the Dominican Republic's government is not serious about honoring their obligations under this international convention. Would you be comfortable travelling to a nation that does not honor its international obligations, especially one concerning our children?
Help send a message to the Dominican Republic that we will not allow them to become a safe haven for child abduction and if they wish to become a safe haven for child abduction it will come at great cost to them.
Avoid vacationing in the Dominican Republic
If you are planning on travelling to the Dominican Republic on vacation consider travelling to another nation for vacation, preferably one that is honoring its obligations under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and is returning US Citizen children who have been abducted. You should call the Dominican Embassy and let them know that you will not travel to the Dominican Republic for vacation until they start honoring their obligations under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and return Kali Soleil Athukorala and other US citizen children to their homes in the United States.
Avoid traveling to the Dominican Republic's resort town of Punta Cana in protest. My daughter's abductor's father, Walter R. Zemialkowski, is apparently Deputy Manager of the airport at Punta Cana. Mr. Zemialkowski attempted to interfere with my rights of custody to Kali Soleil by threatening to use his 'influence' in the Dominican government to prevent me from seeing my daughter if I did not give full custody to his daughter Sandra Clarissa Zemialkowski, my daughter's abductor.
United States citizens are a significant source of income from tourism for the Dominican Republic. We as citizens of the United States should hold the Dominican Republic accountable for allowing the abduction of United States citizens such as Kali Soleil Athukorala to their nation. We as citizens can do so by not providing income from tourism to them until they abide by their obligations.
Avoid Pet Land, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
If you are living in the Dominican Republic avoid the Pet Land Veterinary Hospital in Santo Domingo if your pet needs help. Consider using another reputable Veterinary Hospital for the care of your pet. Sandra Clarissa Zemialkowski, my daughter's abductor is believed to still be employed at the Pet Land Veterinary Hospital in Santo Domingo. Call Pet Land and ask to speak with the Medical Director and let him know that you will not be providing him with any business as long as Kali Soleil Athukorala has not been returned to her home in Massachusetts.
You can also let Pet Land know through their Facebook page that you will not give them business as long as Kali Soleil Athukorala has not been returned to her home in Massachusetts and as long as her abductor Sandra Clarissa Zemialkowski is employed there.
The medical director of Pet Land in Santo Domingo, apparently not just Sandra's employer but a personal friend of Sandra, at one point implied that I should pay child support during a phone conversation by stating that Sandra could not afford to buy baby food or diapers for Kali and he was paying for them. If I had sent any money to Sandra it would have legally been a sign of acquiescing to my daughter's abduction to the Dominican Republic.
Pet Land's address and contact information, according to their website, is:
Pet Land : Hospital Veterinario,
Tienda de Mascotas, Peluquería Exótica
Leonardo Da Vinci No. 57, Renacimiento
Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional República Dominicana
Tels.: 809-331-3434 Fax: 809 620-1570
Citizens of the Dominican Republic
If you are a citizen of the Dominican Republic I urge you to call CONANI, the designated central authority under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and complain about their failure to honor their obligations with respect to Kali's abduction. My daughter's abduction and your government's lack of compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction should concern you. How can you expect other nations to honor their obligations when Dominican children are abducted to their jurisdictions if your government fails in it's obligations?
CONANI can be reached at the following address:
Consejo Nacional Para la Niñez y la Adolescencia (National Council for Childhood and Adolescence) (CONANI)
Avenida Máximo Gómez No. 154, esq. Rep. de Paraguay
Ensanche la Fé
Apartado Postal 2081
Tel.: +1 (809) 567 2233
Fax: +1 (809) 472 8343
Call your congressmen to support pending legislation
If you are a United States citizen please call your congressmen and ask them to support the following House bills: