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Korea to join adoption convention

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  • Sunny Jo
    Korea to join adoption convention By Kim Bo-eun The government plans to join the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption to better protect the human rights
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 19, 2012
      Korea to join adoption convention

      By Kim Bo-eun

      The government plans to join the Hague Convention on Intercountry
      Adoption to better protect the human rights of overseas adoptees.

      “We are in the process of making domestic laws accord with the
      standards of the convention,” said Lee Kyung-eun, director for child
      welfare policy at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said Friday.

      The ministry announced a set of measures to increase support for
      Korean overseas adoptees. They include aiding them in finding their
      parents, providing them the necessary services when they visit their
      home country and expanding opportunities to have contact with Korean

      “If the parent or family is unable to provide a home, the child should
      be sent to certified domestic institutions. International adoption
      should be the last resort,” she added.

      “Support for single moms also needs to be expanded, as most cases of
      adoption arise due to the lack of it,” Lee said.

      She added that the government needs to create a division in charge of
      adoption policies so that it can certify and oversee adoption

      Korea is yet to become a signatory to the International Convention
      Protecting the Rights of Overseas Adoptees which went into effect in
      1995 worldwide. It has been ratified by 91 countries so far.

      The reason Korea had not yet been able to join the convention is
      because its laws did not meet the required standards.

      But, the government has made efforts to lay the groundwork for the
      joining. A special act on adoption was enacted on Aug. 5. The act only
      allows adoption after court approval.

      The ministry plans to create a taskforce with other ministries by the
      end of this year to prepare for the joining of the convention.

      According to ministry data, some 240,000 children were given up for
      adoption from 1958 to 2011. Among them, 165,000 were adopted overseas
      while 76,000 were adopted domestically.

      The number of overseas adoptees has been decreasing since it reached
      its peak in 1985. The domestic adoption rate began to surpass overseas
      adoption for the first time in 2007 because of stronger regulations
      against the latter.

      Kim Do-hyun, director at KoRoot, a nonprofit organization for Korean
      overseas adoptees, said that although Korea has shown great progress,
      it still has far to go.

      “The government needs to change the current reporting system in which
      parents voluntarily register their child within 14 days of birth, to
      one where births are immediately registered by government officials,”
      said Kim.

      “Such a system provides babies legal rights and a safeguard from
      laundering, trafficking or abduction,” he said.

      He added that the government needs to provide single moms as much
      financial support as they are providing orphanages, to help them
      afford to keep the babies.


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