Saturday, December 19, 2009

The partnerships of UNICEF

To understand what is happening with international adoptions world wide, it is necessary to take a closer look at the activities of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) who sponsors the wars against adoptions, funding activities to decrease the population in the Third World Countries, with any means they can.

To maintain its image of a venerable institution who works for the children, UNICEF needs to voice its negative and false anti adoption propaganda through other entities. Casa Alianza, an organization funded by Covenant House, a Catholic entity based in New York, was used in the 90’s to spread negative information about adoptions, which benefitted UNICEF, until its director Bruce Harris was caught by the Honduras police paying for sex to a male teen, who had been serviced (as Casa Alianza refers to the help they supposedly give to the children of the street) and who is sick with AIDS.

In 2000, UNICEF had no qualms in making up an entity called ILPEC to publish an study about Guatemalan adoptions that has been quoted since then as the only truth, when it is evident that the study passes opinions as facts and that it misrepresents the Guatemalan adoption legal process. Based on that so called report, UNICEF demanded the Guatemalan government to shut down adoptions as it has happened in many other countries in Latin America. To further their agenda, UNICEF and the policy makers of the First World Countries, designed a treaty that under the appearance of unifying the adoption laws of the countries to make adoptions more transparent, effectively closed them down, either at the country of origin of the children being adopted or at the country of destiny of the adopted children.

In March 5, 2003 Guatemala shut down all adoptions, both domestic and international. the Procuraduria General de la Nacion, - equivalent of the State Attorney – an entity that must give its approval before each adoption case could be authorized by the presiding authority (either a judge or a notary), without a warning and without a law to authorize it, simply started piling up all the adoption files started after that date refusing to issue that by law that entity was obligated to issue. Six months passed, that were pure agony for those adoptive parents whose children where caught in the illegal enforcement of a treaty commonly known as The Hague Convention for Intercountry Adoptions. That came to an end when the Constitutional Court of Guatemala ruled unconstitutional the law issued by Congress, approving the accession of Guatemala to such convention. According to the highest court in constitutional matters, the president of Guatemala is allowed to ratify treaties, but it is not among the powers of the president, clearly stated in the Constitution to accede to a treaty. The difference between ratification and accession is the participation of the country in a previous stage known as celebration, that it is the step when the delegates of the countries get together to discuss and agree on the terms of the treaty and sign it, before going back to their countries to request authorization to ratify it. In the accession, the country does not participate in celebration, but becomes a party to the convention after it has entered into full force.

In 2007, four years later and after a very powerful and very costly anti adoption campaign, the Constitutional Court issued an opinion of refusing to comply with the ruling of that very same court, giving free hand to the president to keep Guatemala bound by the already ruled unconstitutional accession to The Hague Convention and to the Congress, whose members were on their way out, the freedom to pass an Adoptions Law that centralized in an State entity the power to do and authorize adoptions. The congressmen were brought from their hometowns, where they already had retreated to enjoy their end of the year vacation, for an extraordinary session at Congress, to vote on the Adoptions Law, where the US Consul sat at the diplomatic balcony, with a list of the members of Congress, taking notes of how each of them voted. Previously and as stated by some of the congressmen, the US Consul called each of the congressmen to friendly advise them to approve the Adoptions Law because failing to do so would mean the loss of their visa to visit the United States of America.

The Adoptions Law included a grandfather provision that allowed the cases that were started before the new law became effective, on December 31, 2007, to be finalized according to the laws effective at the time of its initiation, provided the adoptions were registered at the Consejo Nacional de Adopciones (CNA). On January 14, 2008, the current administration took charge and the new authorities fired two of the three members of the CNA which hindered the registration of the cases, because the new members could not take charge as the fired ones would not relinquish their positions. One of the members appointed by the new administration is Elizabeth Hernandez de Larios, who was also the director of the PGN’s Central Authority for Adoptions during a good part of the six months period when adoptions were paralyzed in 2003, so it was not a surprise that thus far, with the exception of a few cases, intercountry adoptions have not been authorized.

Regardless of my personal belief that the human being needs a family since he is born until he dies, the Convention for the Rights of the Child, a human rights treaty celebrated and ratified by Guatemala and therefore, above any other law except for the Constitution, states that the children need to be with a family for their normal and harmonious development. However, there are people who think that abandoned children must remain as pupils of the State until they grow up. The problem with that is that Guatemala does not provide for its children hen they are again abandoned by their so called father, where they become easy prey of the organized crime.

The campaign against adoptions sponsored by UNICEF after the sex scandal of Bruce Harris discredited such entity, was entrusted to Fundacion Sobrevivientes, an entity leaded by Norma Cruz, a secretary and former guerrilla member, who formed it after she discovered that her husband had been sexually abusing her daughter for over five years, to help victims of domestic violence. Even though the entity has nothing to do with adoptions, Norma Cruz has been very vocal against adoptions, embracing the cause of the women who claim that their daughters where stolen to be adopted, starting a campaign called Empty Cradles, that was used to put pressure on the Guatemalan Congress to pass the current adoptions law.

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