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15/01/2010

Irlande. Suspension de l'adoption internationale avec le Vietnam.

Department of Health and Children - Ireland.jpgLe gouvernement irlandais a décidé de suspendre sine die les négociations sur un nouvel accord bilatéral sur l'adoption internationale avec la République socialiste du Vietnam. Cela aura pour effet de suspendre l'adoption internationale du Vietnam, jusqu'à ce que l'approbation du projet de loi 2009 soit promulgué. L'Irlande et le Vietnam ont tous deux ratifié les dispositions de la Convention de La Haye.



Minister Barry Andrews, T.D. Announces Government Decision to Suspend Bilateral Intercountry Adoption Negotiations with Vietnam.


The Government has decided to suspend indefinitely negotiations on a new bilateral intercountry adoption agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.  This will have the effect of suspending intercountry adoption from Vietnam until such time as the Adoption Bill 2009 has been enacted and Ireland and Vietnam have both ratified the provisions of the Hague Convention.

 

The decision, which will cause bitter disappointment for the many families hoping to adopt from Vietnam, was taken in response to the serious findings and recommendations contained in the report on intercountry adoption commissioned by UNICEF and the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice and carried out by International Social Services (ISS).  An earlier report published last August by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) was also considered in making the decision.

 

The UNICEF/ISS report, which was accepted by the Vietnamese Government, “proposes that Vietnam suspends intercountry adoptions for the necessary period during the year 2010 that will enable it to ensure optimal implementation of the Hague Convention and to prepare for the entry into force of the new law on adoption in 2011”.  The Report also raises serious questions regarding adoption practices in Vietnam, including as follows:

 

(a) inter-country adoptions from Vietnam are essentially influenced by foreign demand, i.e. the availability of children who are “adoptable” abroad corresponds more to the existence of foreign prospective adopters than to the actual needs of “abandoned” and orphaned children;

(b) the circumstances under which babies become “adoptable” are invariably unclear and disturbing;

(c) the inter-country adoption  system is grounded in a remarkably unhealthy relationship between the mediating agencies and specific residential facilities; and

(d) Governments and central authorities of “receiving countries” collectively at least, and individually in many instances have not effectively committed themselves to applying the basic principles of the Hague Convention or the recommendations of the treaty’s practical operation, in their dealings with Vietnam.

 

Speaking this afternoon, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews, T.D. said, “I am acutely aware of the disappointment that will be felt as a result of this announcement.  Most prospective adoptive parents that I have met in recent weeks have above all else asked for certainty and an end to the speculation about the Government’s intentions.  Though this is not the news many were hoping for, it will allow prospective adoptive parents to make future choices based on the fact that intercountry adoption with Vietnam will be suspended until Hague ratification is completed in both countries.”

 

The Minister added, “I am fully convinced of the Vietnamese Government’s commitment to improving child protection services.  They are well advanced in putting in place the legislative framework that supports safe and secure domestic and intercountry adoption.  Child protection practice is improving.  However, the latest expert opinion points to worrying practices today.  Of greatest concern is the question of whether the child is “adoptable”.  The issues of consent and the exchange of fees are critical in the adoption process.  These two fundamental features of adoption law must be addressed prior to any bilateral agreement.  I am confident that in the near future Vietnam will ratify the Hague Convention and at that time, I would hope and expect adoptions to resume.”

 

This decision comes at the end of a very difficult process for prospective parents.  The path to intercountry adoption is difficult and made more so in Ireland by the excessive waiting times.  I have pointed to provisions in the new Adoption Bill that will, I hope, provide potential to reduce the waiting lists by creating a new assessment process.  The nature of intercountry adoption is that countries “open” and “close”.  Both receiving and sending countries will at times suspend intercountry adoption arrangements.  It is very possible that by the time the person wishing to adopt from a certain country of origin gets a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability that their designated country may have closed and they are then forced to look at other sending countries.”

 

“When any Government enters into a bilateral international adoption agreement, there is an expectation that the Government has satisfied itself that current policies and practice in the country of origin are robust.  A level of security and comfort is derived from the fact that a Government has signed up to such an agreement.  While accepting that an element of risk always attaches to intercountry adoption, the standard required to allow a Government enter into a bilateral agreement is high.  At this moment, there is sufficient evidence to caution against entering into such an agreement with Vietnam,” said the Minister.

 

The Government has committed to providing technical assistance to the Vietnamese authorities in the area of child welfare and protection to help prepare the way for ratification of the Hague Convention should the Vietnamese wish to avail of such an offer.

 

The Minister stated, “I am very conscious that people will be left asking where they should now turn in order to effect an adoption.  I have asked the Adoption Board to identify Hague countries that would be willing to enter into administrative arrangements with Ireland, which would facilitate intercountry adoption. I understand that the Adoption Board has made contact with a number of jurisdictions in the hope of establishing new arrangements to facilitate intercountry adoption. 

 

Furthermore, having met with the Adoption Board to discuss future arrangements for persons with Declarations of Eligibility and Suitability for Vietnam, the Board has agreed the following arrangements:

• all couples/individuals currently with a declaration of eligibility and suitability for Vietnam may select a new country to adopt from, subject to submitting the usual change of country report to the Adoption Board, but may also retain their current place on the HHAMA list for Vietnam, which is being maintained;
• in the event of Vietnam reopening, those on the Vietnamese waiting list, whose declarations have not been used in the meantime to effect an adoption in another country, will be in a position to proceed without delay and having regard to their position on the Vietnam list.
• all couples/individuals currently with a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability for Vietnam but who have sought to change in recent months will be in a position to avail of the foregoing arrangements.

 

Couples/individuals wishing to change their country of origin are advised to contact their local social worker who will facilitate the change.  The HSE has indicated that the process will not involve the need to revert to the Local Adoption Committee.

 

“I am confident that Vietnam will ratify the Hague Convention in the near future.  It is significant that the Hague Conference has identified Vietnam for priority assistance this year.  In this regard, I hope and expect that Vietnam will reopen for intercountry adoption with Ireland in the not too distant future,” said the Minister.

 

The Minister concluded by saying, “I am very conscious of the position of the children who have been adopted into this country from Vietnam in recent years.  We all have a responsibility to these children and the status of their adoptions is not in question.  These adoptions have gone through a lengthy legal process and have been entered into the Register of Foreign Adoptions.  Any discussion on today’s announcement should take this into account.”  

 

Source : Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Department of Health and Children | 14.01.2010.

 

- Link between Intercountry Adoption and Humanitarian Aid.
Extraits de "Adoption from Viet Nam. Findings and recommendations of an assessment". Service Social International (SSI). Novembre 2009.