Thursday, December 2, 2010

UN finds irregularities in Guatemalan adoptions

A brief report in the Washington Post:
A United Nations anti-corruption commission has found irregularities in Guatemala's adoption program despite government efforts to prevent fraudulent adoptions.

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala says in a report it found cases where Guatemalan children were given to foreigners who were listed as their "foster parents" to circumvent a ban on international adoptions.
I was intrigued by this small blurb, because I hadn't heard that there was any U.N. commission investigating adoptions in Guatemala (and I pride myself on keeping up with these things!).

Well, that's because the focus of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) isn't adoption -- it's organized crime.  From a very informative article in the Journal of International Criminal Justice, this brief explanation of the mandate of the CICIG
CICIG’s mandate is ‘unprecedented among UN or other international efforts to promote accountability and strengthen the rule of law’15 as it is the first hybrid mechanism whose subject matter jurisdiction is not related to serious human rights violations but rather to dismantling organized crime.

* * *

[I]ts mandate was tailored to address the current infiltration of government institutions by criminal clandestine organizations and the operation of violent illegal security forces outside of the control of the Guatemalan state. . . .  These groups operate with almost total impunity given links to the very state actors tasked with prosecuting them.
Let that sink in for a moment.

In investigating organized crime, which in Guatemala is linked to government actors, the CICIG came across information about adoption corruption in Guatemala.  Look at what the CICIG is working on in Guatemala, according to that same article in the Journal of International Criminal Justice:
As of July 2009, CICIG had been admitted as a private prosecutor in eight cases: (i) a case against the daughter of a member of the Guatemalan Congress for human trafficking and illegal adoptions; (ii) the murder of 11 people in Zacapa during a clash between drug traffickers; (iii) a case against four members of the National Civilian Police who engaged in extortion and assault; (iv) a case against Senior Prosecutor Alvaro Matus for obstructing justice and destroying evidence; (v) a case against General Enrique Ros Sosa, son of former Guatemalan General Efrain Rios Montt, and five other ex-military officials for embezzlement; (vi) a case against the kidnappers of Gladys Monterroso, wife of the Human Rights Ombudsman; (vii) a case against ex-President Alfonso Portillo for embezzlement; and (viii) an embezzlement case against ex-Defence Minister Eduardo Arevalo Lacs. In all eight cases, the accused are directly and visibly connected to government institutions, politicians or drug-trafficking organizations.
Good company, eh?  Organized crime in Guatemala is involved in murders, embezzlement, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and illegal adoptions.

For more information about the CICIG, check out their website.


Jessica said...

Organized crime is said to have infiltrated every level of Guatemalan society. The country continues to recover from the 36-year civil war that ended in 1996.

Sandy said...

Malinda - the side of adoption that some people wish to ignore.

Huge profits plus people in power who can be corrupted is the perfect market for organized crime to go into.

I applaud everyone who speaks up to make a difference.