Parliamentary Opposition Leader Jeremiah Manele has cautioned the Government to be mindful not to create laws that will risk the future of our children, our next generation of leaders.
Mr Manele made this statement when contributing to the debate on the Adoption (amendment) Bill 2016 in Parliament on Tuesday this week.
He told Parliament that whilst he appreciated amendments to the bill in safeguarding our children; he said they have to be very cautious whether it will safeguard our children as required under the inter-country arrangement.
“Sir, those who intend to allow their children to be adopted by non-residents must consider the risks of child exploitation and child trafficking which is rife and has become a money making business around the world today. It is also culturally insensitive for us to allow our children to be adopted by non-residents,” he said.
The Opposition Leader told Parliament that the inter-country adoption differs from domestic adoption where some of our children have been taken up for adoption by close family members and friends due to financial difficulties and other personal reasons.
He said it is understandably a practice accepted in this society because of strong cultural connections and self-assurance that our children will be well looked after and still have close connections despite been taken care of by family or friends.
However, Mr Manele said the whole idea of inter-country adoption also deprives children’s rights as sometimes processes and arrangements have been done without their consent and knowledge especially if they are infants.
“This is the reality of international adoptions around the world today. We are not in desperate situations as other countries that warrant any possible explanation to give up our children for international adoption.”
“Mr. Speaker, inter-country adoption has also become a demand driven market around the world today where children are used as commodities. Children have been moved under the guise arrangement of inter-country adoption but were later exploited and sold. This is something we need to be really cautious about,” Mr Manele warned when speaking on the Bill.
He said the country must not allow inter-country adoption to be abused and become a mechanism for child exploitation.
“I believe the significant amendments and recommendations to the current Adoption Act will safeguard our children. Our children are our future leaders and it is important that we create laws that will safeguard them and their interests, “ he said.
Mr Manele said the country is fortunate enough not to be known as some of the countries around the world where children have been trafficked under the guise of inter-country adoption and sold for sex and slavery.
“We have a strong cultural sense that embraces us with our children and we must maintain this,” he said.