Policy Brief 1: Respecting the child’s right to identity in intercountry adoption

Article 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) notes that a child has a right to identity including a name, a nationality and family relations. Whenever a child is deprived of one of these elements, States have an obligation to restore the child’s identity speedily. At the heart of any intercountry adoption (ICA) is the modification of a child’s identity given at birth.

This article explores the conditions that justify such a modification is in the child’s best interests as the paramount consideration. Secondly the article then examines what mechanisms must be in place to record the modification, including the reasons behind the change, to ensure that the adoptee can access information about their origins. Thirdly the article focuses on how to prevent the falsification and possible sale of the child’s identity when it is modified through an ICA. The article concludes by examining promising practices on how different States have taken up their responsibility to re-establish the child’s identity when it is incomplete and/or sold and options for those seeking redress when States abdicate.


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