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22.12.2010 - News

Haiti: A child for Christmas?

On December 21, 2010, two French aircrafts were chartered to transfer in emergency 318 Haitian children from their country to adoptive parents in France. Yet, for most of these children, no ruling has been issued and therefore, they can not be legally adopted. Most importantly, their family situation has not been verified by the Haitian authorities. These children might still have a family and they were not prepared to leave their country.

France justifies the emergency of these transfers by claiming that these children could be contaminated by cholera. Terre des hommes is currently collaborating with 8 institutions (700 children) in the Leogane’s department (earthquake zone) where no cases of cholera have been detected so far. Institutions which are welcoming children, such as nurseries or orphanages, were the first to benefit from a sufficient hygiene’s equipment as a preventive measure to avoid contagion.

“This decision is in complete contradiction with the position taken by the Permanent Bureau of The Hague Conference and International Organizations which reported during the first wave of adoptions after the earthquake, that international adoption is not a solution following emergencies” , says Marlène Hofstetter, Tdh’s Head of adoption. “This is why Tdh strongly denounces the mass evacuation of these children”.

After suffering strong criticisms by the Hague Convention’s member countries during the Special Commission in June 2010 on the accelerated adoptions of Haitian children, France decided to better regulate those adoptions and to respect legal procedures, in the interest of the child. However under the pretext of “saving” children from illness or death, the French authorities hid a very selfish action. What about the other 200,000 to 300,000 children who do not receive the same attention and continue to live in institutions in Haiti?