From 17 to 25 June 2010, a Special Commission meeting was held in The Hague, on the grounds of the Peace Palace, in which more than 80 countries and 14 international organisation were participating. The objective of the Special Commission is to review the practical operation of the Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption and to achieve consencus on the main elements of a Guide to Good Practice on Accreditation and Adoption Accredited bodies.The children's rights organization Terres des Hommes reports the meeting's focus on trafficking into adoption:
After nine days of heated and intense discussions, the Hague Special Commission, a kind of general assembly of Member States to The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, was concluded. The discussions and the resulting conclusions will certainly have an important impact on the protection of children deprived of family care and will hopefully improve adoption practices in future. For the first time in the history of the Convention, States have accepted the existence of child abduction, trade and trafficking in the framework of intercountry adoption and openly debated on this issue – a historic opportunity created by the Permanent Bureau and those states that are at the forefront of ethical adoptions, such as Germany, Australia, Belgium, or Canada. Even though these States are not numerous, they are leading the pack both in terms of public positions and in practice.The website Families Across Borders reports as well:
Major subjects of discussion included measures to prevent abduction, sale and traffic in children and the draft of a new Guide to Good Practice on accreditation of agencies for international adoption work. The subject of the next Good Practice Guide will be selection, counseling and preparation of prospective adoptive parents. The Commission also had a considerable debate on the growing problem of international surrogacy, concluding that it was not appropriate to treat these cases under the Adoption Convention, but urging the Hague Conference to carry out further study of the legal issues around international surrogacy.If you want to see the detailed draft agenda for the meeting, click here.
It sounds like some good preliminary steps. One can't combat trafficking into adoption until one recognizes it as trafficking. Even though the U.S. does not consider illegal adoption to be trafficking, it's good to see the rest of the world sees it differently. And in light of all the disruption news we've seen lately, a good practices guide that emphasizes the selection, counseling and preparation of prospective adoptive parents is much needed. Still, we have a long way to go when one of the worst offenders -- Nepal -- skipped the meeting altogether.