Open letter to the UN Committees

Arun DohleAuthor
Adoption Lobby Alert

• The Committee on the Rights of the Child;
• The Committee on Enforced Disappearances;
• The Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-recurrence;
• The Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material;
• The Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Objection about the UN’s promotion of intercountry adoption

We watched the event regarding the first anniversary of the UN’s Joint Statement on Illegal Intercountry adoptions (20 September 2023).

On the one hand, we appreciate that the UN committees have taken up the issue of intercountry adoption and given victims a voice and platform.

On the other hand, we are concerned that you advocate for better implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention and seem to believe that the current system of intercountry adoptions is legal.

From its inception in the Second World War, the intercountry adoption system has been riddled with child trafficking scandals. No amount of reform will improve a system that strips children of their identities, takes away their families and cultures, and places them in an alien land.

In our opinion, current intercountry adoptions are illegal, as most are carried out in violation of the subsidiarity principle of Article 21b of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We are a Dutch NGO and due to our work in exposing the corruption of intercountry adoptions in more than 17 countries, the Dutch government set up a committee to investigate intercountry adoption (COIA). In February 2021 the COIA released its report and one of its conclusions was:

“The current system of intercountry adoption with private elements cannot be maintained. The committee has serious doubts as to whether it is possible to design a realistic public law system in which the observed failures do not recur.”

We urge the UN Committees to respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and to refrain from advocating for the Hague Adoption Convention, which contradicts it.

The UN Committees must request States to stop intercountry adoptions altogether and ensure that all victims get compensated and assisted.

Yours sincerely,

Arun Dohle