Justice chief responds to alleged wrongdoing in local adoptions

Date: 2008-07-16

from: vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn

July, 16 2008

After the news that around 300 children have been put up illegally in Nam Dinh Province for adoption abroad, Vietnam News Agency spoke to director of the provincial Department of Justice Le Cao Tuyen.

Can you brief our readers on the recent adoption situation in Nam Dinh Province?

Since 2006, there have been 254 children in the province put up for adoption. All of them networked through centres for disabled children in Nam Dinh City, Y Yen and Truc Ninh districts. Of those, 253 of them were from two centres in two districts. The adoptive parents were from France, Italy and the US.

The provincial Department of Justice helps with administrative procedures by receiving applications and transferring them to the above centres.

We then fill out all necessary documents for submission to provincial authorities and the Ministry of Justice. Finally, we organise the exchange between the centres and the adopters.

Local police examine children’s origins and review residential registers. The final approval for adoption eligibility is signed by the chairman or deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

The Centre for Disabled Children in Truc Ninh District has been operating since February of 2005. Why doesn’t the Department of Justice have the centre’s adoption statistics for the 2005-06 period?

We didn’t compile statistics because there were too few cases.

Police investigations show that the two centres in Truc Ninh and Y Yen districts forged adoption certificates for the children. What do you think about this as the leader of the provincial justice sector?

The justice sector has a responsibility to work with relevant sectors to organise adoption abroad. In this case, we have followed all legal procedures based on Government decrees. If we make a mistake, we will accept punishment.

All the documents and certificates for children are under the management and examination of the centres and the police.

The justice sector only takes responsibility for receiving adoption applications. We don’t examine the documents.

Does that mean the Department of Justice just acts as a transition agency for adoption abroad?

No. We are directly involved in the administrative process and consult with the provincial People’s Committee about policies and procedures related to foreign adoption.

So who will take the responsibility for wrongdoing?

I just want to stress that we have strictly followed all legal procedures. As of now, I cannot respond to any accusations. We should wait for the police investigation.

What do you think about claims that bribes were issued during the adoption process?

I am sure that there has been no bribery during the administrative procedures at the Department of Justice. The fee for the process is set at VND2 million (US$117), as per regulation. Eighty per cent of the money goes to taxes. The remainder is used for processing documents and organising meetings. — VNS

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