NA talks on introducing Hague rules on adoption


July 26, 2008

HA NOI — National Assembly Standing Committee members discussed Viet Nam’s legal issues in joining the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption yesterday.

In 1993, 64 countries, including Viet Nam, approved the convention. The number of countries participating to the convention has now increased to 75.

Chairman of the NA’s Law Committee Nguyen Van Thuan asked deputies to identify why, from 1994 until now, the Government had not asked the National Assembly to ratify the convention.

Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien answered that, at that time, Viet Nam’s regulations on adopting children were different compared to regulations of the convention.

Also, Viet Nam still did not have a specific agency to manage international adoption.

Therefore, the Ministry of Justice had not asked the Government to ratify the convention.

The ministry suggested that the country establish a specific office to implement the convention, which would be responsible to the State for protecting children given up for adoption in foreign countries.

In 2003, Viet Nam established the Department for Inter-country Adoption under the Ministry of Justice. Viet Nam has also signed co-operation agreements on adoption with 10 countries since 2000..

Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs, Truong Thi Mai, asked why Viet Nam did not regulate the establishment of charity and non-profitable organisations dealing with adoption.

Deputy Minister Lien replied that the Government would allow the Ministry of Justice to co-ordinate with other ministries to consider the permission of charity and non-profitable organisations dealing with adoption in Viet Nam.

Most National Assembly deputies said that participation in the Hague Convention would create an international, multilateral legal corridor that would be stable in the long-term to protect children given up for adoption abroad, and boost co-operation with othersignatory countries.

Health insurance

Many members of the National Assembly Standing Committee also expressed concern about definitions that were too broad under the draft Health Insurance Law.

Le Quang Binh, head of the National Assembly Committee on National Defence and Security, and Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the Law Committee, agreed that regulations on health insurance should clarify groups of beneficiaries to ensure that people could not hold two or three health insurance cards at once.

Some other members said that the law should include "households near the poverty level" for groups receiving 100 per cent health insurance subsidies by the State.

Instead, they suggested that the group be clarified as "people of poor households, of ethnic minority origins, who live in difficult and extremely difficult areas."

All members agreed with the regulation that patients and their employers should jointly pay for health care fees to reduce unnecessary fees and avoid the present problem of abusing health insurance.

Thuan suggested the law should clarify the specific formulas of join-payment to ensure fairness and equality between patients and State management agencies.

He said that patients themselves could not control check-up and treatment fees. Only the joint-efforts of patients and their employers could help save the budget, he said.

According to Phung Quoc Hien, head of the NA Committee on Finance and Budget, a flat-rate maximum premium of 6 per cent of a person’s salary was not adequate. The law should define premiums proportional to salary levels instead.

He further said that many offices do not clarify employee salary levels, only monthly income, which was difficult to apply to premiums.

The law should define clearly the premium levels that people have to pay, he said.

Some members also asked the State to support farmers in buying health insurance. The law should also clarify that farmers with average living standards would receive 30 per cent of the premium from the State.

Concerning auditing the health insurance fund, some members suggested that the State audit the fund at least once a year instead of once every three years.

All members agreed with the Government’s report that health insurance was the only form of social insurance offered by the State which was not for profit. — VNS


Lawmakers back bid to join Hague adoption convention

International adoption responsibilities would be fielded by a single government agency if Vietnam joins the convention.

A majority of National Assembly’s Standing Committee members supported a bid to sign the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption Friday, scheduling a vote on the measure by the year’s end.

The International Adopted Children Bureau, under the Minister of Justice, would be solely responsible for approving international adoption applications if Vietnam becomes a signatory on the convention, said Deputy Minister Hoang The Lien on the sidelines of the committee session.

Currently, each provincial government ratifies its own international adoption applications.

Financial aid to orphanages would also be handled by the central government agency if Vietnam joins the convention, said Lien.

The move would aim to ward off unhealthy competition between international adoption agencies and even among Vietnamese orphanages, he added.

Lien said lawmakers would also work to remedy shortcomings in local adoption regulations, which many people had capitalized on to forge adoption applications.

Under Vietnamese law, a child must be abandoned by their parents or orphaned to be adopted.

Vietnamese parents who send their children to orphanages due to poverty do so only temporarily.

But several criminals have faked documents leading agencies and adoptive parents to believe that such children were in fact abandoned.

Lien said a recent case of adoption paperwork fraud in the northern province of Nam Dinh would be a major deterrent.

Nam Dinh Province police arrested the head of a charity organization in Truc Ninh District on Thursday for allegedly forging adoption documents.

Nam Dinh authorities began investigating two local charity organizations for their alleged involvement in dubious adoption paperwork in mid-July.

Prior to Thursday, Nam Dinh police had arrested three people, including two communal health officials, for allegedly faking papers documenting the origins of babies they claimed to have found.

Lien also said authorities would discuss other mismatches between Vietnamese laws and the Hague Convention.

For example, under Vietnamese law, the maximum age for adoptees is 16, while the Hague Convention extends the adoption age to 18.

Additionally, the Hague Convention stipulates that adopted children must jettison their legal ties with their parents while Vietnamese laws still allow adopted children to retain inheritance and other rights from their birth parents.

Lien said Vietnam and the US may still cooperate to arrange adoptions in the future through a new agreement or the Hague Adoption Convention.

In April, the Ministry of Justice dispelled accusations in an official US report of systematic baby-selling in Vietnam, saying it was “totally untrue.”

Reported by Tuyet Nhung

In real-person language...

The move would aim to ward off unhealthy competition between international adoption agencies and even among Vietnamese orphanages, he added.

"Unhealthy competition"... is that the same as private profiting groups and agencies that have involved their "special interests" with adoption practices?

sounds like the Hague should

sounds like the Hague should adopt Vietnam's laws.

i wish i had more strength to read  dense stuff.  i never can tell if i'm reading things correctly or just becoming snow blind.

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