Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vietnamese official discredits US criticism of adoption system

A senior government official Saturday rejected a US embassy report criticizing the Vietnamese adoption system.
Vu Duc Long, director of the Justice Ministry’s Department of International Adoptions, said the allegations in the US Embassy report were “groundless” and “unreliable.”
US authorities “did not cooperate with their Vietnamese counterparts in its investigation,” Long said.
The report, released Friday, claimed the Vietnamese adoption system was riddled with corruption and fraud.
The report, written after a review of hundreds of adoptions by US citizens since 2006, said there was evidence of baby-selling in Vietnam.
The two countries agreed to resume the practice of inter-country adoptions in 2006.
In the 18-month period ending March 31, Americans – including actress Angelina Jolie – adopted more than 1,200 Vietnamese children.
A bilateral agreement on adoptions, which was signed in 2005, will expire on September 1.
Long said the US would use the report as a reason for not extending the adoption agreement.
The Associated Press (AP) quoted Long as saying bribery of orphanage officials may occur but serious offenses such as baby-selling or kidnapping were not a problem.
US adoption agencies active in Vietnam told AP that most adoptions in the country were ethical.
Already, the US embassy’s concerns “have left scores of Vietnamese adoptions in limbo,” the AP report said.
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