Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nepal skips the Hague meet on adoption (Republica)

Nepal skips the Hague meet on adoption


KATHMANDU, June 21: Nepal has remained absent in an international meeting on adoption that is underway in the Hague where it is likely to find itself in an uncomfortable position to defend its inter-country adoption which is marred by alleged fraudulent activities.

The Secretariat of The Hague Conference on Private International Law, an intergovernmental organization, had sent an invitation to Nepal to send representatives to participate in the week-long meeting of the Special Commission which is for the first time taking up adoption trafficking. The meeting kicked off last Thursday and ends on Friday.

"We were invited. We had even decided to send a under secretary but did not at last because we came to know that a documentary was being screened during the meeting," said Secretary at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare Mahendra Shrestha in a question why Nepal decided not to take part the meeting.

By a documentary Shrestha referred to one prepared by the Terre des hommes Foundation, a Swiss NGO working for child rights and welfare. The 20-minute documentary exposes frauds in Nepal´s inter-country adoption practice.

Nepal even lodged an objection to the Secretariat to drop the documentary from the meeting´s agenda, saying that the documentary does not reflect the current ground realities.

But diplomatic sources who are following adoption issues interpret the government´s deliberate absence in a different way.

"It shows Nepal does not want to improve its adoption system so as to make it of international standard," said an official working at an embassy of a western country.

A member of adoption working group, who is participating in the meeting in The Hague, told in an email message, "This means Nepal missed the boat and a historic opportunity to join the Special Commission. All countries condemn trafficking against their children. But Nepal was not here to join its voice and say that yes, trafficking happened, but that from now on it will be completely stopped."

Nepal´s adoption system has been questioned internationally following publication of a report The Hague Conference on Private International Law in February this year.

The report based on an investigation on ground by a group of lawyers accused Nepal´s adoption system of being subject to widespread abuse. It also called suspension of adoption from Nepal until reforms are ushered in the system.

Nepal-based embassies of the EU countries and the United States have already asked Nepal government in a diplomatic memorandum to ensure transparency in adoption system and keep child rights protection mechanism in place.

In addition, in March, the United States had issued an alert to prospective adoptive US parents, expressing concern over Nepal´s adoption system and the accuracy of the information in children´s official files.

But Secretary Shrestha said, "We are trying to improve the system. We do not want to see trafficking of children."

Following the publication of the Hague report in February, eight western countries have suspended adoption officially and unofficially from Nepal. They included Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Published on 2010-06-21

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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