Cambodia Not Ready for Inter-Country Adoptions

It has been one year since Cambodia announced that it was lifting its ban on intercountry adoptions beginning January 1, 2013, but despite praising Cambodia’s efforts to implement international regulations, countries that ban adoptions of Cambodians said this week that they were no closer to removing restrictions.

In December 2001, the U.S. suspended adoptions from Cambodia, citing “baby selling and baby ab­duction” and a “seriously flawed” screening process. The U.K., Aus­tralia, France, Ger­many and Italy were among other countries that promptly followed suit.

The U.S. said this week that the situation leading to the suspension has not changed and it has no plans to re­-commence adoptions.

“The Department of State’s determination not to process adoptions from Cambo­dia…remains in effect at this time,” said Ashley Garrigus, press officer at the State Department’s office of policy coordination and public affairs.

“The Department of State does not have a timeline for the re­sumption of adop­tions from Cambodia. We are continuing to closely monitor Cambodia’s progress in implementing the Hague Adoption Convention.”

Cambodia signed the Hague Adop­­tion Convention in 2007 but halted inter-country adoptions in 2009 amid widespread criticism of abuses occurring within its adoption system and its perceived failure to protect a child’s best interests.

In December 2009, the government passed the Adoption Law and has since then tightened restrictions—including limiting the process to foreign couples over the age of 30—would convince the international community that the proper safeguards were now in place.

On Wednesday, the Australian government said the issues with adoptions in Cambodia remain.

“Australia has intercountry adoption programs with countries that are compliant with the Hague Convention…. Al­though Cambodia signed the Convention on 1 August 2007, it does not yet have a fully functional Convention process in place,” a spokesperson for Australia’s Attorney-General Depart­ment said.

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