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Publication - Factsheet

Restricted list: countries with special restrictions on adoption

Published: 1 Aug 2011

Countries in which special restrictions are in place, published under section 62 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

Haiti

Title of order: 'Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Haiti) Order 2010'
Date order in force: 15 October 2010

The order places on a statutory footing the suspension of adoptions from Haiti that is currently in place.

In June 2010, at the 'Special commission on the practical operation of the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption', the Hague Bureau concluded that, in a disaster situation,

  • efforts to reunite a displaced child with his or her parents or family members must take priority
  • no new adoption applications should be considered in the period after the disaster or before the authorities in that State are in a position to apply the necessary safeguards
  • there is a need for a common approach on the part of Central Authorities in dealing with such situations

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) published a report in July 2010 assessing the situation pre- and post-earthquake. The report indicated that, prior to the earthquake, UNICEF was working with the Government of Haiti and other partners to improve standards and ensure that alternative care options were carefully considered in the best interest of the child, but that proper safeguards are not always in place. The report suggests that, despite efforts to improve the infrastructure, the situation in Haiti is still very difficult and that the standards for safeguarding children have deteriorated.

The Scottish Ministers are of the view that, because of practices taking place in Haiti, it would be contrary to public policy to further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Haiti as specified in section 62(1) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

Nepal

Title of order: 'The Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Nepal (Scotland) Order 2010'
Date order in force: 3 May 2010

The Order places on a statutory footing the suspension of adoptions from Nepal that is currently in place.

UNICEF and Terre des Hommes joined forces in 2007 to collect information on intercountry adoptions in Nepal, following changes in Nepal to resolve serious issues of malpractice and the introduction of a new adoption Act. Their findings were published in 2008 and were intended to assist Nepal in improving its procedures and legal framework.

The Hague Bureau undertook a Technical Assistance mission to Nepal, which investigated whether the recommendations of UNICEF had been implemented and the issues raised addressed prior to Nepal acceding to the Hague Convention. The report, published in February 2010, is highly critical and found that most of the problems identified by UNICEF in 2008 had not been resolved. The most serious concerns include:

  • the failure to adhere to the key principles of Article 21 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, such as the complete absence of the principle of best interests of the child
  • a lack of procedures to establish if a child is adoptable
  • no procedures to find a permanent placement for the child in Nepal
  • no support for birth parents about the legal effects of relinquishing their child for adoption

Other concerns include

  • an inadequate legal framework (despite recent legislation)
  • falsification of documents
  • lack of transparency and accountability for the money brought into Nepal from intercountry adoptions.

The Scottish Ministers are of the view that, because of practices taking place in Nepal, it would be contrary to public policy to further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Nepal as specified in section 62(1) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

Cambodia

Title of order: 'Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Cambodia) Order 2008'
Date order in force: 7 October 2008

The Order places on a statutory footing the suspension of adoptions from Cambodia that is currently in place. On 22 June 2004, Margaret Hodge, the Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families at the (then) Department for Education and Skills, within the UK Government, announced a temporary suspension of adoptions of Cambodian children by UK residents. The suspension was introduced in response to evidence that the safeguards in the Cambodian adoption system were insufficient to prevent children being adopted without proper consents being given by their birth parents and improper financial gain being made by individuals involved in the adoption process. The specific areas of concern included:

  • evidence relating to the systematic falsification of Cambodian official documents related to the adoption of children
  • evidence relating to the extensive involvement of adoption facilitators in the adoption procedure in Cambodia, even though Cambodian law expressly forbids facilitators participating in the adoption process
  • evidence relating to the procurement of children for intercountry adoption by facilitators, including by coercion and by paying birth mothers to give up their children
  • concern about the prevalence of child trafficking and corruption generally in Cambodia

On 27 September 2007, Kevin Brennan, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, within the UK Government, announced a review of the suspension introduced in 2004, the purpose of which was to update the information on which the suspension was based, to find out what concerns, if any, remain valid and whether there are any other concerns about practices taking place.

On 2 April 2008 following that review, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State announced that the suspension remained in place. Evidence from the review demonstrated that:

  • adoption legislation, practice and procedure in Cambodia remain insufficient to ensure the proper protection of children and their families
  • lifting the suspension would expose Cambodian children and their families to an increased risk of improper practices that are contrary to the principles of the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Cambodian government has requested assistance in this area from the Secretariat of the Hague Convention. However, there is no evidence to demonstrate that there have been substantive changes to practice on the ground since the announcement of the outcome of the review. The Scottish Ministers are of the view that, because of practices taking place in Cambodia, it would be contrary to public policy to further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Cambodia as specified in section 62(1) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

Guatemala

Title of order: 'Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Guatemala) Order 2008'
Date order in force: 7 October 2008

The Order places on a statutory footing the suspension of adoptions from Guatemala currently in place. On 6 December 2007, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, within the UK Government, announced an immediate suspension of adoptions of Guatemalan children by UK residents in response to concerns about adoption practice in Guatemala.

The suspension was introduced in response to evidence demonstrating that there are insufficient safeguards in the Guatemalan adoption system to prevent children being adopted without proper consents being given and improper financial gain being made by individuals in the adoption process. In particular:

  • there is a trade in babies being sold for overseas adoption
  • mothers are being paid, or otherwise encouraged, to give up children for adoption

Such practices are contrary to the principles of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Although Guatemala has recently passed legislation implementing the Hague Convention, there is no evidence to demonstrate this has resulted in substantive changes in practices in connection with the adoption of children or the eradication of the improper practices which occasioned the statement of 6 December 2007. The Scottish Ministers are of the view that, because of practices taking place in Guatemala, it would be contrary to public policy to further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Guatemala as specified in section 62(1) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

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Contact

Email: ceu@gov.scot – Central Enquiry Unit

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
1 Aug 2011
Restricted list: countries with special restrictions on adoption