KATHMANDU — Legal experts have called for international adoption of Nepalese children to be suspended after an investigation uncovered widespread abuse of the system.
A team of adoption law experts who visited Nepal in November found documents were routinely falsified and children's homes were largely unregulated, with the interests of the child often not considered at all.
In a draft report seen by AFP on Thursday, they urged authorities in Nepal to suspend international adoptions so that new legislation to prevent such abuses could be put in place.
"A new law for inter-country adoption is needed. It should be integrated with a comprehensive law on child protection measures and national solutions for children without parental care," said the report, from intergovernmental organisation The Hague Conference on Private International Law.
"To undertake the necessary reform of the inter-country adoption system, a temporary suspension of adoptions will be necessary."
Nepal first suspended international adoption in 2007 after reports that foreigners were paying up to $20,000 to adopt children, most of whom were not genuine orphans.
Child welfare campaigners say some were effectively trafficked out of the country by unscrupulous orphanages that falsified documents and lied to parents about where their children were being taken.
The government introduced new rules in 2008 and international adoptions restarted last year, but campaigners say abuses of the system continue.
"There are many stories of parents from remote locations in Nepal who still do not understand what happened to their child," said Joseph Aguettant of child rights group Terre Des Hommes.
"They thought they were sending their children to be educated, but they have ended up being adopted and taken abroad."
Terre des Hommes has repeatedly called for Nepal to review the new terms introduced in 2008, and Aguettant said international adoptions should now be suspended "until a proper legal framework is in place."
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