Open submission to the Working Group on Illicit Adoptions – Hague Adoption Convention

From: Arun Dohle []
Sent: Dienstag, 14. Mai 2019 11:13
To: ‘Laura Martinez-Mora’
Subject: RE: working group “illicit practices” meeting


Dear Mrs. Laura Martinez Morah,

Thank you for your swift reply and we are glad that at least the Permanent Bureau

opens the door a tiny bit for adoptee organizations. However, as we discussed on phone, this is absolutely not sufficient. Therefore we kindly request the Hague Bureau to reconsider its position.

ACT is a foundation registered in the Netherlands. In addition, we have an office in Brussels, as you already know. We are also registered in the United States as a 501c organization, and we are formally registered in India as well. We have contact persons in Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Ethiopia who represent us.

I categorically refute the stand of the Permanent Bureau, which considers that we are not an international organization.

From our perspective, the Permanent Bureau, since years, is advocating for policies in utter violation of the UNCRC, i.e. the “subsidiarity principle”. We made this quite clear during our presentation in the European Parliament in November 2018, where you were present as speaker too.

Hereby a few comments regarding the policy issue:

Attached you find an extract of a law review article written by Prof. DM Smolin himself.

From this article it is evident that there

is a conflict between The Hague Adoption Convention and the UNCRC.

Professor Smolin is of the opinion, however, that the conflict between these two

conventions has been resolved by the 2004 UNICEF position on

Intercountry Adoptions.

This cannot be:

1) UNICEF’s mandate is the CRC. Not the Hague Adoption Convention.

2) UNICEF does not have the authority to change the UNCRC or its interpretation.

Nigel Cantwell drafted the 2004 UNICEF position as a reaction to what happened at the time in Romania. The European Commission had established an Independent Panel of Family Law Experts, in 2003, which advised Romania on drafting new child rights and adoption laws. Those new laws were needed because the laws implementing the Hague Adoption Convention, 1998, had created a market in children.  On request, we can make the Panel’s opinion, that intercountry adoption should not be considered a child protection measure available.

In relation to that, UNICEF hired Nigel Cantwell in 2004 to draft the UNICEF position. Nigel has been advising Romania since the early nineties.

As concerns Nigel Cantwell, Prof. Smolin, and Lynelle Long, we would like to bring up the following:

1) Prof. Smolin himself adopted children through illicit procedures, likely through criminal practices.

In particular, he knew the moment his adoptive daughters stepped out of the plane, that something was wrong. Nevertheless and despite the legal knowledge of the consequences, he filed knowingly, false information for obtaining legal adoption under US. Law. (Quote can be found here at 06:20 “The perfect crime”. )

2) Nigel Cantwell was involved in advising Romania since early nineties.

The implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention led to an absolutely disastrous system. The EU forced Romania to stop this system as a condition to Romania’s accession to the EU. Our founder Roelie Post was the European Commission’s task manager at that time. Nigel Cantwell had a clear position end 2001: continue intercountry adoptions.

3) Without going into the details, attached you will find that ISS Australia funded ICAV/Lynelle Long for the book “The Colours of All Times.” The amount of money is being kept secret.

Also, Lynelle, as the ‘owner’ of ICAV has been advocating for government funding for ISS.

ICAV is not a registered organization. Lynelle Long definitely does not represent me, nor many other organizations/adoptees who take a clear position on Intercountry Adoptions.

Furthermore, ISS has been directly involved in criminal adoption practices.

Namely, for India and Romania we have clear evidence of that. ISS/FIOM was also involved in the illegal adoptions towards the Netherlands, in the early days.

Therefore it is our opinion that ISS should not even be part of such a working group. It is a clear-cut conflict of interest.

Also, since ISS is advising governments on the implementation of The Hague Adoption Convention, we consider that ISS should have sufficient in-house knowledge. It is surprising that they hired an external consultant to represent them during the Working Group. The same goes for UNICEF. It is incomprehensible why Unicef for years lets itself be represented by an external consultant when it comes to intercountry adoption.

As per our knowledge, the Working Group on illegal practices was established around the 2010 Special Commission, not at last due to the illicit adoptions our organization (ACT) exposed in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia. It mainly concerned adoptions from India and Ethiopia. These scandals remain covered up till date. ACT is the organisation with most experience on field research, and has assisted many adoptees and their families to reconnect.

This is an open submission to the Working Group, which we will also share with the Dutch Parliament as well as the EU Parliament.

Kindly acknowledge receipt.

Yours sincerely,

Arun Dohle


ISS: Decision letter

David Smolin: The Two Faces of Intercountry Adoption: The Significance of the Indian Adoption
Scandals:  David Smolin