Ministry condemns selling of children
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare has strongly condemned recent articles and adverts in the local media where individuals attempt to sell their children or invite others to give up their children for adoption.
Rosa Nikanor, spokesperson of the ministry, said: “This is tantamount to human trafficking and exploitation and such individuals are making themselves guilty of an offence.”
According to Nikanor, it is not only illegal for newspapers and birth parents to place such adverts, but also ethically wrong to sell and buy children who need care and protection.
She urged people who find themselves in situations which force them to take such actions to approach the ministry for support.
In Namibia, around 80 children are adopted each year, Nikanor said.
“These adoptions are regulated by the Children’s Act 33 of 1960 as amended, the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia and the Convention on the Rights of Children. The children who are adopted fall in various categories such as children who have lost one or both their parents, children who have been abandoned or neglected or abused, children with special needs such as those who are HIV positive or children living with disabilities,” she added.
For the adoption to be finalised by the court, both parents are required to give consent. However, consent may be dispensed if the parents are deemed mentally unfit, has abandoned the child and cannot be found or the identity is unknown. Consent may also be dispensed, if a parent has abused or neglected the child or has caused the child to be abused or neglected, or in cases where a parent has failed consistently to fulfil parental responsibilities.
In an effort to safeguard the welfare of all Namibian children, the ministry is in the process of finalising legislation that will regulate adoptions including Inter-country adoptions.
“The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare is also screening prospective adoptive parents of Namibian descent through its social workers country wide in order to ensure that the provision of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which gives preference to Namibian parents over non-Namibians, in terms of Inter-country Adoptions is adhered to,” Nikanor added.
The ministry called on all those interested in adopting children or giving up their children for adoption to visit its social workers for screening and registration.