Monday, April 9, 2007

Update on Guatemala

March 16, 2007- Alexandria, Virginia – Legislation intended to reform the current international adoption system will be introduced in Guatemala early next week. The legislation puts into place much needed oversight and is in line with the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, an international convention signed or ratified by over 60 countries.“This legislation gives children the legal protections they need and also the continued opportunity to find love and safety through adoption” said Thomas DiFilipo, President of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (Joint Council). International adoption in Guatemala has been criticized by numerous groups for unethical practices and a lack of governmental oversight. Such criticism has called into question whether intercountry adoption will continue in Guatemala. “Legislative reform is the key to continuing intercountry adoption in Guatemala” said DiFilipo. DiFilipo’s statement seems to echo that of many members of the Guatemalan Congress who met in early December and throughout the winter to address a range of issues related to international adoption and are now prepared to present their recommendations to Congress. The Hague Convention on International Adoption will be ratified by the United States later this year. Since more Guatemalan orphans find loving families in the United States than in any other country, passage of this legislation in Guatemala appears vital to the protection of children’s right. The United States Department of State has clearly stated that adoptions with Guatemala will not be permissible under law unless such legislation is passed. According to DiFilipo “It is clear the Guatemalan Congress intends on passing the respective legislation this Spring. The best interest of each child is at the center of their efforts.” Joint Council on International Children’s Services117 South Saint Asaph StreetAlexandria, VA

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