Armenia Discusses Implementation of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption
YEREVAN, 29 April 2008 – While Armenia ratified the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption in 2006, monitoring and implementation mechanisms in the country need to be strengthened to ensure the protection of the rights of those children who may be affected.
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.
Given the importance of the issue, the Armenian Ministry of Justice, with the support of UNICEF organized today a round-table on measures and actions needed to enforce the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption in Armenia. Policy and decision-makers from concerned ministries and state agencies gathered to discuss how to ensure the best interests of the child when inter-country adoption is being considered.
“Ratification of the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption was an important step by which the country’s authorities demonstrated their commitment to ensure a protective environment for all children in Armenia,” UNICEF Representative in Armenia Sheldon Yett said. “However, ratification of the Convention alone will not ensure the best interests of the child are met if the means of implementing the Convention are not fully in place. We look forward to learning more, and providing any support that we can, on the concrete steps that the Government of Armenia is planning to take.”
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.
At the end of the round-table participants agreed to set up an expert group that will include representatives from each governmental agency concerned to scrutinize functions and roles of each concerned agency in the process of inter-country adoption, identify gaps in existing procedures and mechanisms and develop a plan of action to be submitted for consideration of the Armenian Government.
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 the inter-country adoption should be considered as a last resort and only if no in-country solutions are available
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 which means that every effort should be made to develop and promote the use of in-country solutions as a priority.
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.