Teeven postpones adoptions from Uganda
Mr Teeven, the State Secretary of Security and Justice, has decided to suspend all inter-country adoptions from Uganda with immediate effect. He is of the opinion that the present adoption procedure does not provide sufficient guarantees. An official delegation will leave for Uganda before long to perform a further investigation into a total of 22 children presently qualifying for adoption to the Netherlands. The State Secretary sent a letter to that effect to the Lower House of Parliament today.
Teeven wants to get more clarity on the way in which the biological parents have relinquished their child. He wants to prevent children from being relinquished without appropriate procedures being followed. Therefore, the official delegation will verify whether the parents of these 22 children are indeed the biological parents, and whether they are sufficiently aware of the consequences of the adoption of their child. The child’s interest and protection are paramount. Adoptions from Uganda must do justice to the principles of the Hague Adoption Convention and Dutch laws and regulations, says the State Secretary in his letter.
The results of the investigation may affect current adoption procedures. Teeven will decide on each case individually. The prospective adoptive parents have been informed of these developments. Teeven will also inform the Lower House of Parliament on the results of the further investigation as soon as possible.
The State Secretary’s measure ensues from the findings of an official party of the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which party paid Uganda a working visit in March last. The visit was prompted by worrisome reports of the Dutch Embassy in Kampala on the course of affairs in adoption procedures. This investigation focused on the manner in which parents relinquished their child and a study of the child’s origin and background.
Interviews held with representatives of international organisations, the judiciary, lawyers, the children’s home, probation officers and others have shown that the investigations are often not conducted in an appropriate fashion and that the responsible employees have a tendency to charge money for drawing up the reports. This affects the objectivity of the investigations and the reports and it renders the adoption procedure vulnerable and biased. The State Secretary has informed the Lower House of Parliament on this matter in April last, during a general discussion on inter-country adoptions.