Suspect Congolese child adoptions: Belgian parents bring civil claims

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 15:35
Several adoptive parents who adopted from the Congolese orphanage, Tumaini, have decided to take civil action within the ambit of the criminal case.

As The Brussels Times has recently reported, this revolves around kidnapping children and human trafficking. These parents wish to collaborate with investigators and the Belgian authorities.

This was indicated yesterday (Monday) by the barrister Georges-Henri Beauthier, who represents two of the families. This confirmed information which had already appeared in Le Soir.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into all of the adoptions from the Tumaini orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In November 2015, 11 Congolese children, declared to be orphans, arrived in Belgium.

However, at least three of them had a false identity and still had biological parents in their country of origin.

Mr Beauthier indicated, “The adoptive Belgian parents are devastated and wish to shed light on the sequence of events.”

The barrister went on, “The Belgian parents did not participate in this abduction, and have every wish to collaborate with the Belgian authorities in this matter.”

The families have therefore decided to bring a civil action as part of the criminal trial.

Moreover, the lawyer adds that the parents have proof of the production of false civil documents. He elaborates, “One of my clients received five different photographs in respect of the same adoption.”

The adoptive parents also point the finger at the Belgian organisations Sourires d’Enfants and Larisa, which have in fact merged in the meantime. These adoptive parents also blame the Central Community Authority responsible for the adoptions taking place.

The Belgian parents are accusing these parties of having invited them to yield to the financial and time demands of the Congolese orphanage.

Mr Beauthier goes on, “Complaints had, however, been voiced during previous adoption waves, and during such waves the Congolese press were then reporting cases of child abduction.”

He concludes, “We fail to understand how the given public services were able to vouch for the integrity of the system, and to force parents to make payments, whilst they [the authorities] knew of these problems.”

Lars Andersen
The Brussels Times