UNICEF fears child trafficking, opposes foreign Haiti adoption

UNICEF is trying to identify and register unaccompanied children wandering the chaotic streets of the capital Port-au-Prince whose parents have been killed or are missing since the quake a week ago.

UNICEF fears child trafficking, opposes foreign Haiti adoption

Orphans and children abandoned in Haiti after the devastating earthquake should be adopted abroad only as a last resort, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

UNICEF is trying to identify and register unaccompanied children wandering the chaotic streets of the capital Port-au-Prince whose parents have been killed or are missing since the quake a week ago.

The United States has outlined special procedures for some Haitian orphans. UNICEF spokeswoman Veronique Taveau said the agency feared child trafficking could also occur.

"UNICEF's position has always been that whatever the humanitarian situation, family reunification must be favoured," Taveau told a news briefing.

If parents are dead or unaccounted for, efforts should be made to reunite a child with his or her extended family, including grandparents, she said. A child should remain to the extent possible in its country of birth.

"The last resort is inter-country adoption," Taveau said.

Before the quake, 48 percent of Haiti's population was under 18 years old, according to the agency.

UNICEF also said it had reports of violence against Haitian children since the quake, but gave no details.

"In this type of emergency, children are unfortunately the most vulnerable, especially those who have been abandoned," UNICEF spokeswoman Veronique Taveau told a news briefing. "We fear cases of child trafficking could occur."

The United States will temporarily allow entry to orphaned children from Haiti to receive care, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Monday.

Its "humanitarian parole policy" will be applied case-by-case to children legally confirmed as orphans who are eligible for adoption in another country by the Haitian government and are being adopted by U.S. citizens.



Reuters


Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2010, 15:30
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