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The Netherlands suspends all adoptions abroad



“Untenable”. This is the conclusion of a report, published on February 8, on the system of intercountry adoptions in the Netherlands. The Dutch Minister of Legal Protection, who handles current affairs, has decided to suspend all adoption abroad, for lack of being able to launch a reform, the government of Mark Rutte having resigned on January 15 and legislative elections to be held in March.

Corruption, false documents, kidnapping

The author of the document spent two years looking at the procedures from 1967 to 1997 in the Netherlands, in other words from the rise of international adoptions to the ratification of the Hague Convention, which is supposed to prevent irregularities and trafficking. of children. He points to the character “Systemic and permanent »Irregularities.

The document denounces the authorities, who have reportedly turned a blind eye to abuses ranging from corruption to the establishment of false documents, including the purchase and abduction of children. And he recommends the creation of a National Expertise Committee to help adopted people find their biological families.

The report also emits ” serious doubts about the possibility of designing a realistic public law system, in which the identified abuses no longer exist “. This could, no more and no less, mark the end of foreign adoptions for the Dutch, so far open to couples and singles alike.

A case raised by NGOs

So far, the problems remain the same: mothers lose children without their consent, and all possible abuses exist », Explains the Dutch whistleblower Roelie Post. This report sends, according to her, a ” very clear message about the existence of child trafficking for years, and the fact that officials in ministries and embassies have turned a blind eye “.

The NGO she co-founded in 2008, Against Child Trafficking (ACT), together with several associations of adoptees, requested access in 2017 to documents kept by the Ministry of Justice in the Netherlands. ” In fact, we got the ministry to re-read its own documents. Says Roelie Post. The existence of 42 cases of illegal adoptions in Brazil then led the authorities to form a commission of inquiry.

Globally contested intercountry adoption

The Netherlands is among the eight most adopted countries from 1998 to 2005. After peaking at 1,700 foreign adoptions in 1981, the level fell to 145 in 2019. More than 40,000 foreign children grew up in Dutch families since 1957, coming from 80 countries, which have changed over time: in the 1960s and 1970s, they came mainly from Asia (Indonesia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, India) and Colombia; in the 1980s and 1990s, Brazil and China took over, then Taiwan, Haiti and Ethiopia in the 2000s; finally South Africa and the United States in the 2010s.

Along with a survey of national statistics among a sample of 3,454 adopted people, the report indicates that 70% of them say they are happy to have been adopted, 25% may have felt abandoned and 30% have mixed feelings.

Following scandals, several countries have already banned, or severely restricted, international adoptions: Romania in 2005, Guatemala in 2008, Uganda in 2016, Ethiopia in 2018. The Netherlands could be next. on the list.

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