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Current Status November 2007 Reported
from the Cambodian Press :
"Cambodia's long-awaited new legislation
on inter-country adoption was yet to be drafted but was still expected to
be passed by the end of next year, Cambodian media quoted a senior Foreign
Affairs Ministry official as saying Thursday. Secretary of State for the
Foreign Ministry Long Visalo made the promise to US Assistant Secretary of
State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty...
"We are passing a law relating to adoptions
but in drafting it we must consider all the benefits," the paper
quoted Visalo as saying.
He said most importantly the law must be in
line with other international and individual nations' legislation and
ensure "the reasons behind the adoptions are beneficial to the
children and not just the individual who comes to take them."
"Children are not some sort of goods to
be sold at markets," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
June 2007: From the State
Dept. Website: “Since
2001, the United States Government has consistently urged the Royal
Government of Cambodia to amend its adoption laws and implement an
effective, transparent child welfare system to protect children, birth
parents and prospective adoptive parents. Cambodia has begun this
process with its accession to the Hague Convention on Intercountry
Adoption in March 2007. However, the U.S. Government continues to
wait for Cambodia to take further steps towards Convention implementation
as well as to make progress on updating its overall child welfare system.
The U.S. Government will continue to urge Cambodian officials to develop
significant and much needed reforms that could eventually lay the
groundwork for a resumption of intercountry adoptions between Cambodia and
the United States. “
During its November 27-30  session, the Cambodian
National Assembly approved Cambodia’s joining the Hague Adoption
Convention. The Convention was sent to the Cambodian Senate on
for approval; it was also sent to the Council of
Ministers for review. This forward movement is in keeping with
what Cambodian government officials had told Assistant Secretary Maura
Harty and Children’s Issues Director, Ellen Conway, during their
September visit to Phnom Penh in early December. At the time they
shared that ratification of the Convention is a high priority for the
Cambodian government. As of January 22nd, however, DOS is unaware
of further progress in the Convention’s ratification by Cambodia.
DOS continues to impress upon Cambodian officials that the United States
is willing to help Cambodia in implementing both adoption-related and
broader child welfare reforms. The latter are a necessary
prerequisite to a possible future reopening of Cambodia for intercountry
adoptions to the United States. (information courtesy of JCICS: http://www.jcics.org/Cambodia.htm
January 2006: RathCare has created
an online petition
requesting that the United States Senate Subcommittee
on East Asian and Pacific Affairs require the Department of Homeland
Security and the State Department to present a public report on actions
they have taken to lift the ban on Cambodian adoptions by US citizens that
has been in place since December 21,2001. The url for the petition
Please go and sign this petition right now. And then pass it on to
your friends and family.
December 2005: The USAID
funded survey of children in institutional care has been completed and
the resulting database of information has been delivered to the Cambodian
Government by the U.S. embassy.
April 2005: Members of RathCare recently held a
screening of the documentary "Compassion
and Controversy" for members of congress as well as
representatives of the Departments of State and Citizen and Immigration
the screening, there was good dialogue between
members of the panel and members of the audience, including
congressional aides and reps of the DOS and CIS.
Later in the afternoon, RathCare
met privately with members of the Children's Issues division of the
State Department. The following information came out of those
RathCare is formulating an action
plan based on this and other information gleaned from
our meetings . If you would like to join us in
continuing efforts to speed the lifting of the suspension, contact us at www.rathcare.org
- With the exception of a very small
number (1-3) of cases still being processed that met the initial
criteria laid out in October 2002, the Humanitarian
Initiative/Pipeline/Task Force is now finished.
- Until 6-8 months ago the
focus was on
dealing with those pipeline cases. Only once most of those were
tied up was the approach refined regarding
the path to lifting the suspension. This approach is based on
capacity building in Cambodia, which includes the passing of new
improved adoption legislation as well as training of staff, creating a
structure of organization etc.
- Regarding the Unicef draft:
- It is stalled in Cambodia's legislature right now because the
Sam Rainsey party is boycotting the assembly, which means there
are not enough representatives to have a quorum on anything and
no new laws can be passed.
- It is the State Dept's position that the suspension will not
be lifted until legislation is passed and put into action.
(But capacity building can happen in the meantime).
- Currently an assessment of
orphanages is being done:
- At the request of the Cambodian
government, funded by USAID, subcontracted to Holt Services.
- This is an assessment of all
children in institutions in Cambodia.
- It will help to establish a
registry of children in orphanages.
March 2005: To address the overall child welfare needs
in Cambodia, the U.S. Agency for International Development has recently
contracted with Holt International Children’s Services, a
non-governmental organization to conduct a survey of children in Cambodian
institutions and orphanages. This
survey will provide a thorough assessment of orphans and displaced
children currently living in orphanages and institutions throughout
. This assessment will
identify and document by institution, data critical to establishing an
adequate child welfare infrastructure.
To Read News/Updates from 2004 Go to Archived
year there were 138 deaths per 1,000 live births among Cambodian children
under the age of five.*
Leading causes of death
in Cambodian children are malaria, dengue fever, acute respiratory infection,
typhoid, tuberculosis and anemia. Poor hygiene, sanitation and care, poor
quality of medicine and expensive treatment, which many cannot afford, affect
the high mortality rate.+
Child malnutrition in Cambodia
is significant, affecting over half of all children under five years of age. A
national survey in 1996 showed that 53% of Cambodian children are malnourished,
17% severely. Malnutrition rates are highest in the rural population that makes
up over 80% of the child population. +
Estimates of the number of
orphans in Cambodia range from 60,000 to over 200,000.
than 35,000 boys and girls, live in the streets, or lived with very poor
families. They are pressed into gangs, enticed and entrapped to a life of
drug dependency, and petty crimes that usually spiral into criminality -
8.57% of them are now considered addicted to dangerous drugs. (National
Authority for Combating Drug, 2002).
Report from International Labor Organization (ILO) for the year 2000 shows
672,000 children, between the age of 5 to 7 years old (16.5%), work in brick
factories, wrought iron shops, on salt farms, at construction sites, in
mountain quarries, as house servants or shining shoes, or work in
transporting goods across Thailand's border. These jobs are labor intensive,
and extremely dangerous as they lead to serious injuries, disability, and
You can help the children of Cambodia today. RATH
CARE (Resume Adoptions Truthfully and Honestly,
Cambodian Adoption Rescue Effort) is a
coordinated effort to advocate for Cambodian adoptions.
Members actively participate in projects geared toward our goal of
seeing the INS suspension lifted and ethical adoptions resumed in
Cambodia. If you would like to join
our effort, enter your email address below.
For more information about this situation see:
Transcripts of testimony given at the full committee
hearing before the committee on International Relations on May 22,
Representative William Delahunt's letter
to Commissioner Ziglar on behalf
of the children and prospective families. Requires Adobe Acrobat
(formerly INS) Listing of all Public Statements about the Suspension
Petersburg Times article from May 26, 2002