Greater protection for children in overseas adoptions with amended law

- Minister Persaud says routine review of laws important

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Greater protection for Guyanese children who are being adopted by people living overseas will be possible through the revised Adoption of Children Act.

The revision of the Act was finalised on Tuesday when the National Assembly passed amendments tabled by Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud.

This Bill to amend the Act was tabled with the intention of aligning Guyana’s laws for international adoption with the Hague Convention.

This convention aims to ensure that inter-country adoption takes place in the best interests of the child and with respect to the child’s fundamental rights. In accordance with this convention, Guyana’s revision allows for greater international cooperation to protect children from challenges such as abduction and trafficking.

“This is important because it removes any kind of tangle that can arise among different laws that are in specific countries,” Dr. Persaud explained on Tuesday, during the second reading of the bill.

And, she explained, “If there are inconsistencies between the provisions of the convention and the operation of any other law other than the constitution, the provisions of the convention shall prevail.”

The new section of the Act, 35 (F), provides for automatic recognition of adoptions certified by another central authority.

Additionally, new section 35 (G) provides that an adoption certificate issued in a Convention country, is evidence that the adoption was agreed to by the Central Authorities of both countries. As such, it will allow countries to recognise that the adoption was carried out in accordance with both the Convention and the law of the country that issued the adoption certificate.

As Guyana tried to align its local law with the international convention, these overseas adoptions were paused. But, with the passage of the amendment on Tuesday, these adoptions can now resume.

Beyond the amendments, Dr. Persaud called on all of the Members of Parliament to stop the politicisation on issues relating to children and instead support efforts geared at protecting children.

Importantly, she stated, “As we continue to look at our legislation, whether adoption or any other piece of legislation that deals with children, it will require consistent review and revision which can sometimes lead to amendment and which can sometimes lead to repeal and recall and brand new bills because time moves on.”

On Tuesday also, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall SC, stated that Guyana’s law-making efforts must not be done in isolation. As such, he said that the government is working on a new trafficking bill.

This new Bill, he explained, is part of the government’s efforts at reducing and outright preventing such heinous acts from occurring in Guyana.

Already, he lamented that people smuggling has been a concern locally.

 

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