5 March 2008

Congo-Brazzaville: Government Lifts Ban On Foreign Adoption of Children

Brazzaville — Authorities in the Republic of Congo have lifted a temporary ban imposed four months ago on the international adoption of children.

The move to suspend adoption of children by foreigners followed the arrest on 25 October 2007 in neighbouring Chad of members of a French NGO who were subsequently charged with abducting 103 children destined for new families in Europe.

"The suspension was of a limited duration. You cannot suspend [adoption] indefinitely," said Cyrille Louya, the official in charge of cooperation in the Congolese ministry of justice and human rights.

He said regulations had been reviewed to guard against illegal adoption.

"Many times in the past adoptions were not in accordance with the rules. There were many things that were done that were not in the interest of the adopted children," said Louya.

Between 2006 and 2007, at least 22 Congolese children were adopted, mainly by people from Spain and France, according to Louya.

A study conducted in 2006 by the government, the justice and peace commission and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) revealed about 2,000 children were victims of cross-border trafficking in Congo that year.

Most came from West African countries, including Benin, Mali, Senegal and Togo. Others were from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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