Saturday, June 26, 2010

Inter-country adoption laws in offing (Republica)

Inter-country adoption laws in offing


Om Astha Rai

Kathmandu, June 27: If everything goes as planned, internationally distinguished foreign nationals will soon be able to adopt Nepali children.

Officials at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) have been mulling over some amendments in the procedures regarding inter-country adoption under Muluki Ain (Civil Code), which, once implemented, will pave the way for foreign nationals to adopt Nepali children of their choice.

Existing international standards and practices and Nepal´s existing laws prohibit any foreign nationals from selecting the children of their choice for adoption.

However, MoWCSW´s proposed amendments overlook existing international practices, which are considered imperative for protecting children from abuses.

Officials at the ministry have proposed such an amendment after the government had to deny several internationally distinguished foreign nationals´ requests for adopting the children of their choice in the past.

Recently, about two dozen American senators had lobbied with the government for adoption of a Nepali child by a US based entrepreneur, according to ministry officials.

The government will allow a foreign national to select a Nepali child of their choice only under special circumstances, an MoWCSW official told According to him, MoWCSW will soon send the proposed amendments, which are being discussed in various intra-ministry committees, to the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ).

In addition, MoWCSW officials have proposed that those orphanages which have looked after orphans for at least five years, be made eligible for inter-country adoption. At present, any orphanages can obtain license for inter-country adoption irrespective of the years of its operation.

“The existing laws have arguably helped those people who want to make quick buck by setting up orphanages, and selling off children in the name of adoption,” a ministry official said. “Inter-country adoption has become a booming business. We urgently need laws that will deter such an unscrupulous practice.”

As of now, 42 orphanages have been enlisted for inter-country adoption. Ministry officials believe that a significant number of the listed orphanages have been using inter-country adoption as a means of income generation.

Likewise, as per the proposed amendments, foreign agencies involved in inter-country adoption will necessarily have to open their offices in Nepal. About 80 agencies have been assisting prospective parents to adopt Nepali children. However, none of them have opened their liaison offices in Nepal.

Published on 2010-06-27

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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