Six British couples on Monday lost an appeal at the High Court in London to challenge Britain’s decision to ban adoptions from Cambodia, the British Embassy said Tuesday.
Britain suspended adoptions from Cambodia on June 22, 2004, after concluding that the process involved falsified documents, the illegal involvement of facilitators and the prevalence of child trafficking.
The couples launched their appeal in April, arguing that the ban took no account of Cambodia’s humanitarian crisis.
“The temporary suspension will remain in place until we, the UK government, are satisfied that safeguards in Cambodia are sufficient to prevent Cambodian children being adopted when it’s not in their best interests,” said John Mitchell, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy. “We’ve made it very clear what we need to see put in place before lifting the temporary suspension.”
Explaining the ruling, Justice James Munby said the evidence of abuses and corruption in the Cambodian adoption system “amply justify” the ban, The Associated Press reported.
In a joint statement, the six couples expressed “dismay” at the decision, according to the British Broadcasting Corp. “The judge was clearly very aware of just how many needy orphans there are in Cambodia. But this ruling does not help them in any way,” the couples said, according to the BBC.
The Ministry of Social Affairs, which deals with adoptions, has finished drafting a new law to try and make the adoption process more transparent, Nim Thoth, secretary of state at the ministry, said Tuesday.
“The bill is sensitive because of experienced past problems,” he said.
The same month that Britain imposed the ban, former Cambodian baby broker Lauryn Galindo pleaded guilty in US federal court to visa fraud, money laundering and currency structuring.
Cambodian officials may have profited $2.45 million through payments from her adoption firm between 1997 and 2001, according to court documents obtained in August.
The government said it does not charge fees for adoptions.