by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) June 23, 2011
Haitian leader Michel Martelly said Thursday he would issue a presidential decree to tighten up Haiti's adoption procedures and ensure all applications go through authorized entities.
Legislation to that effect has already gone through the National Assembly and is expected to pass the Senate soon, but Martelly, who was sworn in as president in May, is struggling to form a government to sign off on the law.
Martelly's first pick as prime minister, businessman Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, was roundly rejected by a parliament dominated by his predecessor's ruling party earlier this week.
"While waiting for a vote on this law, a delay I hope will be as short as possible, I intend to issue a presidential decree making it obligatory for adoption applications to go through authorized organisms, as the Hague Convention outlines," Martelly said.
The president vowed to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which sets forth guidelines and procedures and outlaws private or individual adoptions, during his five-year term.
He was speaking at a Port-au-Prince gathering of 10 adopter nations, including France, the former colonial power which took in more Haitian children than any other country in 2010.
This "eagerly awaited" measure will effectively ban individual adoption procedures, Martelly said.
Haiti was already the poorest country in the Americas even before a January 2010 earthquake destroyed much of the capital and killed an estimated 225,000 people, created countless more orphans.
A high-profile adoption abuse case shortly after the quake saw 10 Americans charged with kidnapping after they sought to take a busload of 33 children over the border into the Dominican Republic without the proper paperwork.
The Baptist missionaries at first presented the children as quake orphans, but it quickly emerged that many of the children still had living parents, infuriating many Haitians.
A total of 318 adopted Haitian children were included in a special program and flown to France last Christmas Eve.
The children were all in the process of being adopted when the quake struck on January 12, 2010, causing adoptions to be delayed with some records lost in the rubble.
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New Zealand offers to buy 5,000 quake-hit homes
Wellington (AFP) June 23, 2011
New Zealand offered to buy 5,000 damaged homes in quake-devastated Christchurch Thursday and said it was assessing whether to purchase another 10,000. Prime Minister John Key said the offer related to homes on land that was now unstable due to the constant seismic pounding endured by New Zealand's second-largest city in the past nine months, making rebuilding unfeasible. Many residents h ... read more
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