Nepal needs strict laws for foreign adoption: UN

Date: 2008-08-30
Source: The Hindu

Kathmandu (PTI): The sale, abduction and trafficking of children is rife in Nepal and the government needs to bring in stricter regulations for adoption by foreigners, a UN agency said on Saturday.

Every year some 400 Nepalese children are adopted abroad through different non-governmental agencies and in many cases illegal practices take place, officials said at a function here after the launch of a report by UNICEF and Terre des homes (Tdh) a Swiss child relief agency.

Sale, abduction and trafficking of children is taking place in Nepal and the government needs to do more to encourage adoption by domestic families, the report said.

"An industry has grown up around adoption in which profit rather than the best interests of the child takes centre stage," said Gillian Mellsop, the country director for UNICEF.

Only four out of every 100 adopted children were adopted by Nepali families, the report said.

International adoptions were suspended in Nepal in June 2007 after reports of widespread corruption and middlemen charging prospective parents up to 20,000 dollars.

However, the government cleared most of the 442 pending applications for adoption early this year after preparing a new set of rules for foreigners desiring to adopt Nepali children, a senior official said.

Mellsop said, "appropriate legal mechanism and a functioning alternative care to parental care can prevent abuse and allow inter-country adoption to continue for those who need it."

Government figures show 2,201 children have been adopted by foreigners in the past seven years.

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