Adoption should not be seen as a right or entitlement on the part of parents but should be instead guided by what is best for the child. It is imperative to view adoption through the prism of the rights of the child wherein prominent consideration should be vested on the welfare and best interest of the child.
The Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs. Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus made this statement this morning, at the opening ceremony of a validation workshop on the draft of the Adoption's Bill, at the Pearl Beach Hotel in Flic-en Flac. The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Mauritius, Mrs. Marjaana Sall, was also present on the occasion.
In her address, Minister Jadoo-Jaunbocus highlighted that an adoption is essentially a measure that creates a permanent parent-child relationship between the adoptee and the adoptive parents. It is essential to promote and strengthen the emotional bond between the child and the parents and ensure that the child has the right and opportunity to express its views on any prospective adoption, she said.
On that score, she underlined that the validation of the draft of the Adoption Bill and recently the validation of the draft of the Children's Bill showcase Government's determination to cater for the welfare of children. Mrs. Jadoo-Jaunbocus indicated that the National Adoption Council, operating under the aegis of her Ministry, has been designated as the central authority under the Hague Convention, to inquire into all demands regarding adoption matters. She stressed that many procedural challenges need to be tackled to ensure that adoptions are compliant with human rights and other obligations.
The Minister underlined that the aim to ensure that the law provides for robust safeguards against criminal and unethical behaviour underpins the initiative to draft the Adoption Bill. She indicated that the Bill will regulate both domestic and inter-country adoptions in a consistent and cohesive manner in compliance with the country's obligations under international law. She further observed that for the Bill to be effective, there is a need for all stakeholders to join Government in its endeavour to implement it.
As for Ambassador Sall, she recalled that the EU has provided for technical assistance to work out the drafts of the Adoption Bill and the Children's Bill. This, she said, are the concrete examples of EU's commitment to partner with Mauritius on issues of shared values. According to her, adoption raises several human rights issues which require authorities to ensure that these are taken into consideration during the adoption process.
Furthermore, she emphasised that international standards have been set out to establish safeguards against abuse and the Bill will further help to establish criteria for the best interest of the child. Mrs. Sall expressed satisfaction that the civil society and relevant stakeholders are being consulted in the whole process of drafting the Bill, which she indicated, is in line with EU's advocacy for a full participatory approach in new policies and with the principles of democracy and good governance.
The new Adoption Bill
The New Adoption Bill is being worked upon so as to comply with the Hague Convention wherein the new legislation will regulate all the three types of adoption in Mauritius, that is, adoption of Mauritian children by foreigners, adoption of foreign children by Mauritian nationals, and adoption of Mauritian children by Mauritian nationals.