Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guatemala: War orphans sold says gov’t

Another dimension has been added to the troublesome aspect of adoptions in Guatemala when the government revealed yesterday that civil war orphans had been placed up for adoption.

According to the government investigation, there has been at least one confirmed case of two children illegally put up for adoption after their parents were killed in Guatemala’s civil war. Evidence suggests that hundreds of other orphans from the country’s 36-year war were put up for adoption and were likely taken in by U.S. families said the director of the government’s Peace Archive, Marco Tulio Alvarez.

Alvarez added that the final report is expected to be revealed by next month. Yet what they uncovered was reminiscent of “Dirty War” orphans illegally adopted in Argentina:
“In the analysis carried out, patterns of activity can be established that show the ease with which the adoption procedures were handled to hide the violation of rights of Guatemalan children through forced disappearance,” he said.

Alvarez did not rule out that members of Guatemala’s police and armed forces could be implicated in the selling of the children.

He said that during the civil war, the children of people “disappeared” by the security forces were sent to government-run orphanages, and that some of those youngsters were then sold to adoptive parents.

“In these cases, many human rights of the children were violated” and all the indications found so far “make one think that the business was very profitable”, Alvarez said.
Guatemala had been one of the main sources for adoption by U.S. parents for many years with nearly 5000 kids adopted in 2006. Yet the State Department put a halt to Guatemalan adoptions last September citing the lack of “regulations and infrastructure necessary to meet its obligations under the convention."

Image- ABC News
Online Sources- AP, thandian.com, BBC News, Washington Times

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