Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Citipointe church and 'stolen' children

For those who read this blog and have, perhaps, looked at my Citipointe blog...


...my latest letter to Leigh Ramsay may be of interest:

Leigh Ramsay
Citipointe church
322 Wecker Rd
Carindale, QLD 4152

31st Oct. 2012

Dear Leigh

As is your custom, you ignore my letters. On yet another trip to Cambodia I have again made no progress at all in assisting Chanti in her quest to get Citipointe to return Rosa and Chita (Srey Mal) to her care. Each day I see the tears of distress this causes Chanti and Chhork and, as the person whom Chanti calls 'Papa' I feel for her and roundly condemn Citipointe church for the contemptuous and unfeeling way it has treated Chanti and Chhork for four years now.

As a filmmaker I keep a record of all that transpires (or fails to transpire) in Chanti's never-ending attempts to get Citipointe to release Rosa and Srey Mal back into her care.You clearly have no intention of doing so and it seems that the Ministry of Social Affairs has as little interest as yourself in the right of a mother, no matter how poor, to take care of her own children and not see them brought up by foreigners in an institution. In Australia, as you know, you would not be allowed to get away with the way in which you treat Chanti. Apart from any moral considerations, your illegal removal of Rosa and Chita from the family home would see you in court on charges of kidnapping and Citipointe church on the front pages of newspapers exposed for fraud, having raised money from gullible members of Citipointe church who have been led to believe that girls like Rosa and Chita have been rescued from the sex trade. There is a word for this, Leigh. It is 'scam'.

As you know well from my previous correspondence, my finished film about 17 years in the life of Chanti, one part of which will deal with Citipointe church's removal of Chanti's daughters from her care, will be vetted by lawyers - both my own and those of domestic and international broadcasters that wish to broadcast the film. It will not be possible for legal reasons (and nor is it my intention) to include anything that is defamatory. I will merely present the facts as they are and let members of the audience make up their own minds as to the appropriateness or inappropriateness of Citipointe's activities in Cambodia in relation to the circumstances under which Rosa and Srey Mal were removed front the care of Chanti; of Citipointe church's retaining custody of the girls for more than four years contrary to the wishes of their mother.

I had hoped that Citipointe might, if only for reasons of public relations, see the advantages of putting a lot of time, energy and money (much less than it costs to keep Rosa and Chita in an institution) into formulating a family re-integration program for Rosa and Chita and assisting the entire family over the next few years to become self-sufficient. It is not to be. Citipointe church has no interest at all in re-integration; no interest in the welfare of the entire family, as has been borne out this past four years by Citipointe's refusal to offer support of any kind to Chanti - not even wen her children's hair turned red from malnutrition or when Chanti required surgery to remove a tumour from her wrist. Citipointe church's interest (borne out by your actions) lie in maintaining control of Rosa and Chita; in turning them into Christians in the Citipointe church hold. You practice a form of Christianity, Leigh, that is a mystery to me - one that places the need or desire on the part of your church to save souls for Jesus Christ above meeting the needs not just of Rosa and Chita but of the entire family. Why on earth the government of Cambodia allows NGOs such as Citipointe's 'She' refuge to replicate the institutionalisation of children along lines practiced by the Khmer Rouge is a mystery to me!

I will now seek legal advice as to how best to proceed with this matter - both in Cambodia and Australia. One thing is clear from the evidence available to me: when Citipointe church took control of Rosa and Chita against the wishes of their mother four years ago and refused to return the girls when asked, repeatedly, by Chanti that it do so, the church was in breach of Cambodia's 2008 Law of Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation. You and Citipointe's lawyers might like to acquaint yourselves with Article 8:

Definition of Unlawful Removal

The act of unlawful removal in this law shall mean to:

1) remove a person from his/her current place of residence to a place under the actor's or a third person's control by means of force, threat, deception, abuse of power, or enticement, or
2) without legal authority or any other legal justification to do so, take a minor or a person under general custody or curatorship or legal custody away from the legal custody of the parents, care taker or guardian.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Leigh. Everyone associated with Citipointe (especially those making donations to the 'She' refuge) should be ashamed that the church would be involved in activities that are not only against the law in Cambodia and a breach of the human rights of Chanti and her daughters but which are also contrary to all that Citipointe professes on its website and contrary to the basic principles of Christianity.

best wishes

James Ricketson

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