The Committee on Enforced Disappearances today co-hosted an event at the Palais des Nations in Geneva to mark the first anniversary of the joint statement on illegal intercountry adoptions. Speakers discussed the content and objectives of the joint statement, highlighted its importance for victims and identified future actions to promote its implementation.
Olivier de Frouville, Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances, said that the purpose of the joint event was to consider how to implement the joint statement and how to ensure that victims’ rights were protected. Mr. de Frouville stressed the importance of listening to the voices of victims, who went through great personal stress to tell their stories.
Mr. de Freuville said there was a rising tide of people adopted during the 1970s and later who were now looking for their relatives. States needed to respect human rights conventions and instruments, and the joint statement constituted a practical guide in that regard. The treaty body system offered several procedures that could be triggered to help persuade States to implement effective measures. In closing, Mr. de Freuville said the practice of illegal intercountry adoptions was a multilateral and a societal issue, and needed to be treated accordingly.
The joint event was co-hosted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child; the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation, and Guarantees of Non-recurrence; the Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children including child prostitution, child pornography, and other child sexual abuse material; the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children; and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
During the session, two panel discussions were held, the first presenting testimonies of victims and States’ experiences, and the second discussing the relevance of the joint statement. In addition to the co-hosts, representatives of the Governments of France and Ukraine, civil society organisations and persons affected by illegal intercountry adoptions participated in the panels.