The European Parliament will discuss intercountry adoptions at its next plenary session in February, and a resolution on this issue was motioned by Croatian MEP Ladislav Ilcic of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR).
According to the proposed schedule, the European Commission will present its position on intercountry adoptions at the plenary session in Strasbourg on 15 February as part of a debate on “Cross-border adoptions – the need for greater transparency and international cooperation.”
“I motioned a resolution on intercountry adoption and in a very short time I received a lot of support from the parliamentary groups because it is clear from this last Croatian example that something must urgently be done to protect children, and then adoptive parents, from human traffickers,” Ilcic, a member of the Croatian Sovereignst party, told Hina.
Adoptions between countries came into the focus of the Croatian public after the Zambian authorities arrested four Croatian couples on suspicion of child trafficking at the beginning of December. They are awaiting trial in Zambia and face up to 20 years in prison.
“An adoption is a noble act, but there are also chains of organised crime – and here I mean chains of prostitution, paedophilia, organ trafficking – that take maximum advantage of children from underdeveloped and poor countries, and they are succeeding because there are loopholes in our laws and systems which they skillfully use,” added Ilčić.
The four Croatian couples tried to adopt four children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who were granted citizenship by the Croatian institutions. However, the Zambian authorities suspect that the Congolese adoption papers were forged. The Democratic Republic of Congo is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children, and some countries, such as the USA and France, have banned the adoption of children from that African country.
“With this resolution, we call on EU member states to temporarily or permanently suspend adoptions from DR Congo and countries with similar problems until effective mechanisms are established that would primarily protect the children, but also the adoptive parents, and we ask the states to better monitor the work of adoption agencies that are often guided only by profit and not by the welfare of the child,” Ilcic underscored.
HDZ/EPP MEP Karlo Ressler also spoke about this issue at the plenary session in Strasbourg on Monday.
“The civilisational strength of a society is largely measured in how it treats the most vulnerable – children, born and unborn, own and others. That is why child trafficking and various related practices and the instrumentalisation of children for ideological whims must be stopped,” said Ressler.
“Adoption is a noble deed, but all suspicions of the sale of children under the guise of illegal international adoptions must be clarified,” Ressler said, pushing for harsh penalties for those found guilty of child trafficking.