The following is a brief update on Joint Council’s Mission to Krygyzstan.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we met with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, the Director of Child Protection and visited the Bishkek and Tokmak orphanages along with the Tokmak hospital. We extend our thanks to the Deputy Minister of Health for his approval of our visits to the orphanages and hospital.
Today (Friday), we meet with Youth Human Rights Group, the Kyrgyz Ombudsman on Human Rights and the U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan.
The meeting with the Deputy Minister of Health was most informative and he shared his concern regarding the well being of the children under his care. During our meeting with the UNICEF team, they stated their continuing support for the processing of all pending cases, provided that a full review of each case is completed. However, a timeline for such a review was not known or offered. They also firmly stated that UNICEF makes a clear distinction between child trafficking and issues related to intercountry adoption. We expressed Joint Council’s appreciation of UNICEF Krygyzstan’s position that intercountry adoption is not related to child trafficking yet noted that UNICEF continues to connect the two in the press, most recently as related to the crisis in Haiti. Joint Council continues to work towards ending any type of unethical practices in intercountry adoption and remains appalled at any comparison between child trafficking and intercountry adoption. ll
The visits to the orphanages and hospital once again brought the reality of children’s suffering to us. As we posted on the Joint Council Facebook page: children simply do not belong in orphanages.
And as we stated on our blog post a few days ago, the U.S. needs a more comprehensive approach in ensuring that children live in a safe and permanent family. Efforts by any government which reforms child protection systems while simultaneously causing abuse of a different type are seriously flawed. Bringing attention to corruption only ends abuse when additional and timely support is put into place which prevents other abuse from occurring. A failure to do so only replaces the type of abuse inflicted upon children.
During all meetings this week and again today, we call on the Kyrgyz government to continue its efforts to provide adequate protections to all children and to lift the suspension on intercountry adoption.