Germany suspends adoptions from Nepal

KIRAN CHAPAGAIN / República

KATHMANDU, Feb 11: Germany has suspended inter-country adoptions from Nepal, barely a week after a report of a group of international legal experts accused Nepal´s adoption system of being subject to widespread abuses.

Though the German Embassy in Kathmandu circulated the decision among diplomatic missions based in Kathmandu on Wednesday, the embassy is yet to inform the government officially.

A diplomatic source who received an email from the German Embassy told myrepublica.com that authorities and agencies concerned in Germany took a decision to this effect in Bonn, Germany on Tuesday. The decision is effective from Wednesday.

The source said that Germany took the decision citing lack of child protection mechanisms in Nepal.

The German decision comes six days after The Hague Conference on Private International Law, an inter-governmental organization based in Hague, called on Nepal to suspend international adoption while the system is being overhauled to ensure children are better protected. It accused Nepal´s adoption system of being marred by widespread abuses while urging Nepal to introduce new legislation to prevent such abuses.

German parents have been adopting 15-20 Nepali children on average annually from Nepal. Altogether 100 children were adopted by German families in a period of six years starting January 2004.

This is the second time Germany has suspended inter-county adoption from Nepal in three years. It had stopped adopting Nepali children in February 2007, the move that was followed by other countries then.

Nepal had faced similar allegations in 2007 and had officially suspended inter-country adoption in May 2007. The government had introduced new rules in 2008 to address the loopholes in the system before deciding to resume adoption in January 2009. But child rights campaigners complain that the abuses continue even after the rules were enforced.

Most Nepali children are adopted by families in Spain, Italy, the US, France, and Germany. Nepal saw a surge in inter-country adoptions after 1999/2000, when the process was standardized and brought under the Ministry for Women, Children, and Social Welfare.

Adoption group discusses Hague report

Meanwhile, the international adoption group based in Kathmandu discussed the report of The Hague Conference on Private International Law at the US Embassy on Wednesday.

Sources told myrepublica.com that they discussed ways to respond to the report that has pointed out abuses of the adoption system and called suspension of the inter-country adoption.

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