Two Australian siblings Benny (then aged 4 years) and Lucia (16 months), were Australian-born citizens abducted by their mother Maria while holidaying in Colombia. The children’s Australian father, Robert Clarke launched a fight under The Hague Convention to bring his children home to Australia to where the Family Court could determine shared custody to ensure the children had the love and support of both parents. While Colombian Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina ruled the Clarke Children were illegally retained, he failed to order their immediate return to Australia. A contradiction and breach of the Hague Convention.
In February 2020, Robert had just one opportunity to appeal this decision and called on the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, to honour Colombia’s commitment to the Hague Convention and “Help bring these two precious little Australians home!.” Robert secured 35,000 signatures of support from across Australia, Colombia and around the globe.
With the Global COVID-19 Pandemic closing international borders, and the Colombian judicial system shutting, the appeal continued to be pushed back. After extensive delays, in late-2021 Robert’s appeal was finally held with no notice given to either Robert or his lawyer. His appeal was denied.
- A Current Affair – Kidnapped – Producer: Alysia Thomas-Sam Reporter: Tineka Everaardt
- The Australian – Father in battle to bring kids home from Colombia by Tessa Akerman
- The Daily Mail – Heartbroken Aussie father’s Colombian family holiday turns into a nightmare when his wife leaves him, ‘takes the kids’ and refuses to return from overseas – and he hasn’t seen them since.