UNICEF: The best interests of the child in intercountry adoption
Nigel Cantwell's study 'The best interests of the child in intercountry adoption' responds to one key question: what is it that enables a policy, process, decision or practice to be qualified as either respectful or in violation of the best interests of the child in intercountry adoption?
There is universal agreement, embedded in international human rights law, that the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration in any decisions made about a child’s future. However, there is no universal agreement on who is ultimately responsible for determining what is in a child’s ‘best interests’, nor on what basis the decision should be made.
This study sets out to demonstrate the dangers for children’s rights that are inherent in the lack of such consensus, and to contribute concrete proposals for addressing the problem in its various facets. It focuses on the precise role that the best interests principle should play in intercountry adoption to ensure that the human rights of children are upheld at every stage.
In addition, identifies intercountry adoption as one possible component of wider child care and protection provision, to be used only when no suitable alternatives exist or can be created in that child’s own country.