Calls for full-scale inquiry into illegal adoptions in Ireland

Calls for full-scale inquiry into illegal adoptions in Ireland
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio

A United Nations special rapporteur has again called for a full-scale inquiry into the scale of forced and illegal adoptions that occurred in Ireland.

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, UN special rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, reiterated her call at an event at the Irish Centre for Human Rights in Dublin where she was discussing her report on Ireland.

That report, published in March, highlighted concerns in relation to the failure to provide information, accountability and redress to survivors of institutional abuse, and to persons adopted in a manner that would amount to "sale of children under international law".

Ms de Boer-Buquicchio said it was clear, based on the evidence produced to date, that a full inquiry into adoption practices was required.

"Given the legacy of forced and illegal adoption in Ireland, including those carried out for commercial purposes, I also encourage the Irish Government to further conduct a national examination of all alleged illicit activities undertaken in the field of adoption which would clarify the scope of this issue both historically and in the present," she said.

Ms de Boer-Buquicchio said it was "widely noted" that many adoption arrangements both domestically and internationally were made illegally "through the use of falsified documentation or by coercing natural mothers to consent to the adoption of their child against their will".

Regarding the Mother and Baby Homes Commission's final report, which is due in February, the UN special rapporteur said that given its "limited scope...it cannot be comprehensive as it covers only a limited amount of institutions".

Ms de Boer-Buquicchio said that, instead of inquiries into individual institutions, the State should be focused on investigating "the gamut of human rights abuses identified in these and similar settings".

The review itself should be based on the types of human rights abuses committed and not on particular institutions to account for the fact that the abuses are alleged to have occurred in and outside of institutional settings.

"That would also avoid the arbitrary unequal treatment of survivors based on their individual circumstances," she added.

With regard to intercountry adoption, Ms de Boer-Buquicchio also expressed concern that travel and certification documents issued by Irish authorities to couples who want to adopt children abroad “lack specificity and can be easily falsified.”

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