Gov’t at Odds With European Nations on Adoption

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has issued a statement expressing “surprise” over Germany and Britain’s ob­jections to Cambodia’s signing of an international treaty on the adoption of children.

“Cambodia is surprised to know that the UK and Germany objected to Cambodia’s membership,” the min­istry wrote in a statement re­ceived Friday.

“The Royal Government of Cam­bodia cannot accept the objection by the UK and Germany.”

The objections, however, would not affect Cambodia’s membership, the ministry added.

Cambodia became a signatory of the Hague Convention on Pro­tec­­tion of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adop­­tion on Aug 1, according to the Hague Conference’s Web site. According to the site, Ger­many ob­jected to Cambodia’s mem­­bership Nov 8, the Nether­lands objected Dec 10, and the UK objected Dec 13.

Of the three countries, only the Netherlands provided an official reason for their objection, which is included on the Web site.

“The Netherlands objects to the accession of Cambodia to the Hague Convention…because it is still unclear whether the adoption process complies with international norms.”

German Ambassador Frank Mar­­cus Mann said by telephone Tues­­day that Germany objected to Cambodia’s accession because it hasn’t passed a law on adoptions.

“Germany is still waiting for the adoption law to be passed,” he said.

According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry statement, Cambodia has not yet finished drafting its adoption law.

A British Embassy spokesman said Monday that Britain is in talks with the Foreign Affairs Min­istry on the issue, but de­clined to elaborate.

Foreign Affairs Ministry Sec­re­tary of State Ouch Borith de­clined to comment specifically to the objections by the three countries, but said by telephone Tues­day that the ministry’s decision to re­ject the objections was based on a review of international and Cam­­bodian law.

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