US warns against adopting in Nepal (AFP)
The United States has warned its citizens against adopting children in Nepal, saying it has "grave concerns" about the reliability of that country's adoption system.
The government urged prospective adoptive parents to choose another country, citing the case of a young Nepalese girl placed in the custody of an American couple without the consent of her biological mother and father.
"The US Department of State strongly discourages prospective adoptive parents from choosing Nepal as a country from which to adopt due to grave concerns about the reliability of Nepal's adoption system," it said in a statement on its website dated 4 March.
Nepal introduced new adoption legislation in 2008 following reports of widespread abuses of the system by unscrupulous agents who were effectively trafficking children overseas for profit.
Twenty Nepalese children have been adopted by foreign parents since the system restarted last year, seven of whom are in the US, but experts say little has changed since the new rules came into force.
The State Department said that in one of the first cases processed by the Nepal government, the US embassy in Kathmandu found the birth parents of the adopted child were actively searching for her.
The US government warning follows a recommendation last month from a team of international legal experts based in The Hague that international adoptions of Nepalese children be suspended.
They said their investigations found documents were routinely falsified and children’s homes were largely unregulated, with the interests of the child often not considered at all.
Germany moved to suspend adoptions from Nepal after the findings of The Hague team's investigations were made public, and 14 embassies in Kathmandu issued a statement urging the Nepalese government to tighten controls.
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