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State agencies get 30 days to revise foreign adoption rules

Thursday February 4 2016

High Court judge Weldon Korir has given the government 30 days to resolve the issues surrounding child adoption by foreigners in Kenya. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

High Court judge Weldon Korir has given the government 30 days to resolve the issues surrounding child adoption by foreigners in Kenya. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MAUREEN KAKAH
By MAUREEN KAKAH
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The High Court has given the government 30 days to resolve the controversy surrounding laws governing the adoption of Kenyan children by foreigners.

Justice Weldon Korir issued the directive Wednesday after the government requested the court for time to make necessary consultations to resolve the stalemate, which the State claims is aimed at protecting Kenyan children from traffickers.

The Law Society of Kenya sued the Labour Cabinet Secretary, the Director of Children’s Services and the Attorney-General shortly after gazette notices and a government directive on foreign adoption were published last year.

The judge said the case would be mentioned on March 8, to find out if the matter has been resolved.

In November 2014, the Labour CS issued a directive that banned adoption of Kenyan children by foreigners.

The ministry also wrote to the Director of Children’s Services asking them to stop foreigners from adopting Kenyan children after a 2014 Global Report from the UN office on drugs and crime indicated that Kenya was a source, transit point as well as a destination for trafficked children.

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And following a meeting at State House, Nairobi, on November 27, 2014, the ban was issued in the wake of abuse of Kenya’s adoption processes by foreigners.

The government later issued another gazette notice revoking a February 20, 2015, one on the same issue causing a standoff in the adoption process.

The LSK told the court that the effect of the new laws was that there was no council to administer adoption and that several proceedings before courts in various adoption proceedings are stuck.

The new notice does not resolve the problem because the committee now set up does not have powers to license adoption societies, yet it is these bodies  that process children for adoption.