PARLIAMENT PASSES THE ADOPTION (AMENDMENT) BILL 2016
THURSDAY 23TH FEBRUARY 2017
Parliament has passed the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 on Tuesday the 21st of February after it went through the committee stage without amendments.
The object of this Bill is to amend the Adoption Act 2004 to protect children who are the subject of adoption for by non-residents of Solomon Islands. The Bill does this by outlining the requirements for such an adoption and by prohibiting the removal of the Solomon Island children for adoption outside of Solomon Islands without an order of the Court.
Reiterating this on the floor of Parliament is the Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs and Member of Parliament for Ulawa Ugi Hon. William Bradford Marau.
“Mr Speaker the intention of the Bill is straight forward, it is just to improve certain provisions in the current Adoption Act 2004”
Minister Marau added that the Bill updates the current principle Act in three main areas. One is the replacement of the word infant by inserting the word child. This he explained is to qualify age category so that any children from one month to 18 years old can be covered under the term Child.
“This is consistent with international terms and other laws that Solomon Islands have already passed”
The second important changes that the Minister highlighted was in clause eight on the current principle Act which provides for inter-country Adoption.
Hon. Marau told Parliament that “there has to be a report coming from the Adoption authority from country of residence of applicant parents which the current law does not have”
He said this is to give further protection against the possibilities of child trafficking in the country.
The Justice Minister explained that clause 8 of the Bill has put in place a strict criteria for any parents overseas who wanted to adopt any local child in the country.
“It has to has a supporting document attesting to the suitability that parents are safe enough to care for any child where they wanted to adopt in the Solomon Islands”
Minister Marau added that, there’s a penalty increase for parents who have breach an offence during the course of application for adoption.
“An adoption to be awarded to any parents from overseas have to be approved by the High Court, and if that adoption go without the approval of the High Court then there’s a penalty increased for that compared to the principle Act which isn’t adequate enough”
MPs who have contributed on the Bill supported the Bill despite sharing their views to further cement few loopholes in parts of the clauses.
This is the fourth Bill that Parliament has passed so far in this current 5th meeting of the 10th Parliament.
The copy of the Bill can be sighted in this website for your read.