EU urged to fast-track adoptions from Haiti: Spanish presidency
22 January 2010, 16:27 CET
(MADRID) - The Spanish presidency of the European Union will next week urge the bloc to forge a common position on fast-track adoptions from Haiti, Madrid said Friday.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos "will on Monday propose to the council (of EU foreign ministers) that there could be a joint common response," Spain's Vice-President Maria-Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said.
She said the aims included "speeding up procedures for adoption cases already under way at the various missions," and "reinforcing aid and international protection for isolated minors travelling alone or orphans," in conjunction with the UN children's agency and the Red Cross.
The vice-president also told a cabinet meeting that the third objective was to "buttress action ...in Haiti to ensure the protection of minors," adding: "We hope it will get the backing of the 27" nations comprising the bloc.
Several countries are fast-tracking adoption procedures already under way, including Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States. [Note: U.S. State Dept. claiming 600 adoptions were "in the pipeline" and after the worst is over and the airports re-opened, private planes will go in from church groups etc. to snatch up kids.]
The January 12 earthquake in Haiti killed at least 75,000 people and left more than a million homeless living in streets, parks and makeshift tented encampments.
Fernandez de la Vega said there had been several applications for adoptions from Haiti in Spain since the quake.
On Friday, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said several children had gone missing from hospitals in Haiti since the quake struck, raising fears of trafficking for adoption abroad.
"We have documented let's say around 15 cases of children disappearing from hospitals and not with their own family at the time," said UNICEF adviser Jean Luc Legrand in Geneva.
"UNICEF has been working in Haiti for many years and we knew the problem with the trade of children in Haiti which existed already beforehand, and unfortunately many of these trade networks have links with the international adoption 'market'," Legrand said.
The agency underlined that it had warned countries during the past week not to step up adoptions from Haiti in the aftermath of the quake.
Legrand said trafficking networks had sprung into action immediately after the disaster "to kidnap children and get them out of the country."
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