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Congressional letter to Condoleezza Rice related to Vietnam


Dear Secretary Rice:

We want to thank you for your commitment to protect children and their birth families by ` working to ensure that intercountry adoptions remain as an option for children who would otherwise not be placed for adoptions in their own countries. We would also like to strongly urge you to negotiate a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Vietnam that addresses concerns surrounding the adoption system in Vietnam.

We strongly share your concern about reported instances of fraud and corruption within Vietnam’s adoption system. We share your belief that systematic reform and more effective safeguards are needed to prevent the types of abuses described in your most recent report. Further, we understand that greater cooperation of the Government of Vietnam will be i required to address these concerns. Nevertheless, we encourage you to work with the Vietnamese Government to implement proactive measures designed to guard against abuse. Such measures could include a thorough accreditation process for all U.S.—based agencies providing » services in Vietnam, increased transparency and accountability with regard to fees, and ` strengthened laws and procedures for prosecuting individuals found to be complicit in fraudulent behavior.

We believe that signing an interim agreement with Vietnam is consistent with your goal of moving toward a Hague-compliant system, provided that such an agreement would contain enforceable safeguards. We strongly support the transition to a Hague-compliant system in Vietnam. However, we also understand that the establishment of such a system can take years, and it is not in the best interest of children to remain institutionalized or homeless during the G period of transition. lt is our hope that a properly designed interim agreement could serve as a foundation for the implementation of a Hague-compliant system in the near future.

Madam Secretary, we appreciate the important work that the State Department has done in investigating concerns with the Vietnamese adoption system. lt is our hope that we will be able to address these concerns, so that we can continue to find families for these orphans. Accordingly, we ask that you work to resolve these issues and to secure an updated Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam that ensures the integrity of international adoptions between our two countries.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to working with you on this important humanitarian issue.


[list of signatures]

2008 Jul 7