Zambia official: Children who Croatians tried to adopt must be returned to DRC

NEWS 22.03.202316:34
Emica Elvedji/PIXSELL

The Congolese children whom eight Croatians, charged with attempted child trafficking in Zambia, tried to adopt, must be returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Zambian ministry representative has said, per the UNHCR.

The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances on Wednesday heard a Zambian delegation headed by Interior Ministry secretary Dickson Matembo. The Committee considered how Zambia implements the provisions of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The Committee was interested in the case of eight Croatians whom Zambia suspects of child trafficking – what the investigation concluded on the origin of adoption, whether the children were taken from their families or an orphanage, and what measures Zambia took to ensure that adoptions could not be the result of enforced disappearance.

Matembo said the eight Croatians crossed into Zambia from the DRC with children, that Zambia’s border officers examined their documentation and contacted Congolese officials.

The children came from orphanages and this was not the first time this group of Croatians had crossed the border with children, he said. In cooperation with Congolese authorities, it was established their documentation was fake and that the owner of the orphanage is on the run, he added.

The children will have to be handed over to the Congolese government, Matembo said.

The Croatians were arrested at Ndola airport, Zambia early in December on suspicion of human trafficking and regarding the validity of the documents on the adoption of four children from the DRC. They were charged with attempted human trafficking and document forgery. The children, who have Croatian documents, were placed under Zambia’s care at an undisclosed location for security reasons.