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Rwandan Children In Italy May Be Sent Home

Rwandan Children In Italy May Be Sent Home
Monday, April 16, 2001
     Some Rwandan children evacuated during the 1994 genocide and adopted by Italian couples last year may be returned to their home country, according to the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
     While most of the hundreds of Rwandan children brought to Italy during the Rwandan conflict were returned once peace was established, 41 were adopted by Italian families. Rwanda says the adoptions took place without the consent of the surviving relatives in Rwanda or the Rwandan government, and Rwandan Attorney General Gerhard Gahima says his country considers the children kidnapped.
     Relatives have asked for the children's return since 1995, and the government of Rwanda is planning to pursue legal action. Italy is a party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which prohibits adoptions without the agreement of legal adoption authorities in the country of origin and the country of the adopted parents, and without discussions with surviving relatives.
     Italian Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Rino SerriBBC Online, 12 Apr). said the controversial adoptions would have to be examined and that it was possible the children would have to return to Rwanda. He recommended that that the adoptive parents go to Rwanda with the children to find whether the adoptions had met local laws (
2001 Apr 16