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Second adoption sparks new row


Second adoption sparks new row

'Madonna is behaving like a bully' March 31, 2009

By Reuters, Sapa-AP, AFP

Lilongwe - Madonna has been accused of child trafficking, kidnapping and behaving like a bully as she waits for a Malawian court to rule on whether she can adopt a second child from that country.

She appeared in court yesterday seeking to adopt a four year-old girl, Mercy James. The case was adjourned to April 3.

Critics accused the Malawian government of giving
Madonna special treatment when she adopted her Malawian son, David Banda, saying it skirted laws that ban non-residents from adopting children.

On Tuesday, a coalition of NGOs criticised the pop star’s
latest adoption attempt and planned to oppose Mercy’s adoption, while ActionAid said the move would not help millions of children living in poverty around the world.

"In the absence of clear laws and procedures what is happening in this case amounts to child trafficking or kidnapping," said leading Malawian human rights activist Mavuto Bamusi. "We feel Madonna is behaving like a bully," said Undule Mwakusungura, chairman of the Human Rights Consultative Committee which represents
85 rights bodies. "She has the money and the status to
use her profile to manipulate, to fast-track the process."

ActionAid said that: "While Madonna's proposed adoption
in Malawi may help one child, it's not going to make a difference to the millions of children living and dying in poverty in the developing world."

The Save the Children charity last week said the best place for a child was with their family in their home country.

"Most children in orphanages have one parent still living,
or have an extended family that can care for them in the
absence of their parents," spokesperson Dominic Nutt said.

However, some Malawians said they support Madonna’s
efforts to adopt the little girl.

"We are blessed for what Madonna is doing here," said
E Ngulinga, who was among those outside the court yesterday.

"That baby is going to have the advantages of going to
school and of becoming someone," he said. "Here it is very difficult."

Ngulinga said he hoped the girl and David would return
when they were older to help Malawi.

The UN estimates that half of the one million Malawian
children who have lost one or both parents have been
orphaned by Aids.

One of Madonna’s lawyers said the star was asking to be
granted an interim adoption of about 18 months.

A Malawian welfare official said the girl's father is believed
to be alive but her 18-year-old mother died soon after she was born.

On Sunday Madonna toured a site where her charity, Raising Malawi, plans to build a multi-million dollar school for girls in Chikhota village.

Earlier, David spent a couple of hours with his biological
father. "I was very happy to see him," David’s father, Yohane Banda, said. "He asked me who I was."

2009 Mar 31