Foreign adoption last resort for Haiti quake orphans: Unicef

January 20th, 2010 - 3:39 am ICT by IANS  

Geneva, Jan 20 (IANS/EFE) The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said Tuesday that international adoption should be the “last resort” for children orphaned by last week’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.
“Unicef’s position has always been that whatever the humanitarian situation, family reunification must be favoured,” spokeswoman Veronique Taveau said during a press briefing in Geneva.

“The last resort is inter-country adoption,” she said.

Taveau said Unicef is working to find and identify children left without parents after last Tuesday’s devastating earthquake in the country.

“We find them, identify them and register them, and favour family reunification,” she said, adding that for Unicef’s purposes, family includes uncles and aunts, cousins, grandparents and more distant relatives.

Unicef expressed concern amid reports of efforts to speed international adoptions of Haitian children in the aftermath of the disaster, which is estimated to have left about 200,000 people dead.

Half of Haiti’s nine million residents are below the age of 18.

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