The Netherlands has called a halt to all new adoptions from abroad in reaction to a highly critical report which condemned the role of government officials and highlighted a wide range of abuses, including corruption, forgery and child snatching.
‘The Dutch government has shown shortcomings by looking away from abuses in cross border adoptions and for not taking action,’ justice minister Sander Dekker said.
Dekker also said that children adopted from abroad deserved recognition of the mistakes made in the past, and help in the present.
‘Although many adoptions were experienced as positive, the government should have taken a more active role by intervening in cases where there was abuse,’ Dekker said. ‘The positive sentiment surrounding adoption in the last century – with the guiding idea that we did good with adoption – is an explanation, but no justification.’
Adoption procedures which are currently underway will not be affected although an extra check will be built into the process.
Former senior civil servant Tjibbe Joustra was asked to look at Dutch adoption procedures covering the 30 years to 1997 following concerns about the illegal adoption of babies from Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the report, he said the lack of supervision and action on abuses are permanent and systemic, and that all adoptions should be stopped for the time being.
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