Vila Times

The first ever Bill for the Adoption ready for the next Parliament sitting

The first ever Bill for the Adoption ready for the next Parliament sitting
The first ever Bill for the Adoption ready for the next Parliament sitting
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The Minister of Justice Esmon Saemon will table the first ever Bill for Adoption in the next sitting of Parliament scheduled to take place from 11 to 19 June.
The bill provides for the adoption of children in Vanuatu and for related purposes.
Since independence, Parliament has never enacted domestic legislation to provide for the process of adoption in Vanuatu. To date, the Supreme Court has relied on the UK Adoption Act of 1958 and the French Civil Code in making adoption orders.
This bill set out the process and requirements for formal adoption and does not apply to custom adoption.
The bill provides for the following matters:
(a) That the Director-General of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services (“the DG”) is to provide adoption services, which includes making and facilitating the adoption arrangements of children in Vanuatu;
(b) For the registration and regulation of adoption agencies and temporary carers to ensure that adoption services are provided to a high standard;
(c) The process of adoption and the conditioning for making of adoption orders, including conditions for making adoption orders without consent;
(d) For adoption orders to be made in favour of a single person, married couples and unmarried persons;
(e) For a more consistent approach to have access to information held by the Ministry, the Court and the Registrar of Civil Status;
(f) For inter-country adoptions;
(g) For the requirements for bringing a child into Vanuatu in connection with adoption. This is aimed at ensuring that Vanuatu residents and citizens follow the appropriate procedures when a child is brought into Vanuatu for the purposes of adoption;
(h) For restrictions on arranging adoptions and advertising children for adoption (through traditional media and electronically) except through the DG or adoption agencies, and prohibits certain payments in connection with adoption;
(i) To enable DC to establish an Adopted Children’s Register and to suggest matches between children waiting to be adopted and approved prospective adopters;
(j) For the legal representation of children by lawyers in State Law Office, Public Solicitor’s Office and the Vanuatu Women’s Centre;
(k) To allow the birth parents to state their preferences for types of persons who can adopt their child, for example persons with a similar religious background, and provides for the making of a adoption plan prepared by the applicants as to their plan following adoption, for the child to learn and retain his or her Melanesian cultural roots.
Furthermore, the bill provides for the following internationally recognised standards to be considered when decisions are made concerning the adoption of a child:
(a) The “best interest of the child” must always be considered in the adoption process so as to reduce any risk of harm to the child; and
(b) The child must be given a right to be heard where appropriate; and
(c) Cultural factors are important factors to consider in the adoption process.
This bill is in line with and gives effect to the Convention on the rights of the Child that was ratified by Parliament in 1992.
Child mentioned above means a person under the age of 18.
The bill for adoption is one of the ten bills being drafted during the former Salwai led Government but could not be tabled in Parliament on December last year due to lack of time.