National Consultation on Domestic Adoption and Inter-Country Adoption in Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia, 4 December 2013 – Stronger protection of Cambodian children is the subject of a two-day national training and consultation on domestic and inter-country adoption in Cambodia that began today facilitated by the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), including its Asia Pacific Regional Office.
Jointly organised by Cambodia’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) with the support of UNICEF and the HCCH, the consultation was opened by H.E. Ang Vong Vathana, Minister of Justice and UNICEF. The consultation brings together 48 Presidents of provincial courts, judges from 23 provinces and the capital, Phnom Penh, as well as 10 senior officials from both MoJ and MoSVY.
The aim of the consultation is to discuss Cambodia’s progress regarding the implementation of the 1993 Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption (1993 Hague Convention) and the Inter-Country Adoption Law with the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH: Mr Anselmo Reyes, Representative of the Asia Pacific Regional Office, and Ms Laura Martínez-Mora, Principal Legal Officer. Participants will also review the relationship between domestic adoption and inter-country adoption and share regional and international best practices.
The consultation comes almost four years after the passing of Cambodia’s Inter-Country Adoption Law in December 2009. However, the opening of new inter-country adoption applications was postponed in order to allow the authorities time to prepare the necessary regulatory frameworks, set up the needed mechanisms and train relevant stakeholders in order to make the new law operational.
“Essential safeguards to ensure the proper case management of adoptions needs to be in place before the resumption of adoptions,” said Mr. Anselmo Reyes, Representative of the Hague Conference Asia Pacific Regional Office. This resumption should take place gradually in order to guarantee the proper and orderly implementation of the 2009 Law and the 1993 Hague Convention.
At the conference, Ms. Sunah Kim, Deputy Representative of UNICEF said, “Receiving States are urged to co-operate with and support Cambodia in this important milestone by taking steps to ensure that the number of applications for adoption and authorisation requests from foreign accredited bodies remain manageable by Cambodian authorities.” Receiving States should also avoid putting any pressure on the Cambodian authorities to restart adoptions before the essential safeguards are in place and respect any limits on the above-mentioned applications set by the Cambodian authorities.
The new regulatory frameworks and procedures in Cambodia, which benefited from the legal advice provided by the HCCH, establish among others a clear separation of inter-country adoption from contributions, donations and development aid.
The consultation will address these issues informed by lessons learned from countries where the 1993 Hague Convention already successfully operates in practice.
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Angelique Reid, Communications Officer
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