[Source Credit: The Korea Herald]
South Korea's parliament is expected to ratify the Hague Adoption Convention, aimed at ensuring that inter-country adoption only occurs when in the best interests of the child, as early as 2025.
The convention, known officially as the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, deals with international adoption, child laundering and child trafficking in an effort to protect those involved from the corruption, abuse and exploitation which sometimes arise in international adoption.
The convention calls for adoption to respect children's fundamental rights and guarantee their best interests, as well as to promote domestic adoption as much as possible. International adoption should be the last resort when domestic adoption is not possible, according to the Convention.
Although Korea signed the convention 10 years ago, its ratification was delayed as a number of law amendments were required.
“The laws necessary to implement the Convention are expected to pass the plenary session of the National Assembly within the first half of the year. When they are implemented, the ministry will prepare a system in line with the laws, and we will be able to ratify the agreement in two years,” an official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.
When the laws are implemented, and the Convention is ratified, the country's adoption system will change to a system in which the state is responsible. Until now, adoption has been largely entrusted to the private sector.
Korea has been criticized as “the world's top orphan exporter” over the years, as thousands of abandoned children here have been adopted by foreigners through private institutions. But the number of international adoptions of Korean children is expected to decrease significantly if the convention gets the parliamentary nod. The Korean government also plans to revitalize domestic adoption over international adoption by 2026.
(c) 2023, The Korea Herald