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Armenia ratifies the Hague convention on Inter-Country Adoption

© Italian National Committee for UNICEF/D.Lodi
A young girl at the Vanadzor boarding school N 2 in the north of Armenia.

YEREVAN,   14  November  2006  –  President  of Armenia Robert Kocharyan signed  today  the  Hague  Convention  on the Protection of Children and Cooperation  in  Respect  of  Inter-Country Adoption. The Convention was ratified by the National Assembly on 23 October 2006.

The Hague Convention establishes a set of internationally agreed minimum requirements and procedures to govern inter-country adoptions in which a child  moves  from one country that has signed the Convention to another signatory country.

"Armenia's ratification of this treaty highlights the country's commitment to ensure that essential safeguards and procedures are in place regulating the inter-country adoption of children from Armenia," says Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Armenia. "With its ratification, Armenia joins a partnership of some 70 countries working together to ensure that the best interests of each individual child are respected when inter-country adoption is being considered."

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Armenia is a signatory, clearly states that every child has the right to be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible. UNICEF believes that families needing support to care for their children should receive it, and that alternative means for caring for a child should only be considered when, despite this assistance, a child's family is unavailable, unable or unwilling to care for him or her. Inter-country adoption is one of a range of care options for a child who cannot be placed in a family setting in his or her country of origin. However, the best interests of each individual child must always be the guiding principle.

Over the past years, the number of families from rich countries wanting to adopt children from other countries has grown substantially. This, coupled with insufficient regulation and oversight, risks creating an environment where motives and activities that may not be in the best interests of the child can take centre stage. The Convention seeks to establish a cooperative framework between the countries of origin of children being placed for adoption and their receiving countries to ensure that the child's best interests are safeguarded and to prevent abuses such as exploitation and trafficking in children.

"Armenia has embarked on the path of child welfare reforms by adopting a new Family Code, amending key legislation related to children and establishing child protection bodies at the central and local level. The country's accession to this Convention once again demonstrates the Government's strong commitment to create a protective environment for children in Armenia," the UNICEF Representative said. "It is now important to ensure that relevant mechanisms are in place for the effective and full implementation of the Convention."

The Hague Convention includes provisions to ensure that adoption is authorized by competent national authorities and that inter-country adoption does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it. These provisions are meant first and foremost to protect children but also have the positive effect of providing assurance to prospective adoptive parents that their child had not been the subject of illegal and detrimental practices.

UNICEF established its presence in Armenia in 1994. UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to meet their full potential.

For more information, please, contact:

Emil Sahakyan, Communications Officer, UNICEF Armenia

Tel.: (374 10) 52 35 46, 56 64 97




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