Carmen Monico presents at international forum in The Hague
As concerns over illegal practices in intercountry adoption and global surrogacy continue to capture the world's attention, Assistant Professor of Human Service Studies Carmen Monico presented at an international forum of experts informing The Hague Conference on International Law's reporting on these critical global issues.
Carmen Monico, an assistant professor in Elon’s Human Service Studies program, presented at the International Forum on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy held in The Hague Aug. 11-13, 2014.
The conference was convened by the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and attended by close to 100 representatives from academic institutions, adoption agencies and related government institutions from around the world. Participants shared their lessons learned from 20 years of implementation of the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (HCIA), which has been signed by over 70 countries and provides global, children’s rights-based standards for international adoptions.
Researchers, adult adoptees, and adoption agency advocates recognized that progress has being made but expressed concerns about existing convention “loopholes,” the ongoing illegal practices of international adoption, and emergent unfair practices in international surrogacy arrangements, which are not properly addressed in the HCIA or any other existing international convention. The forum aimed to provide inputs for the report of the Fourth Special Commission on the HCIA’s practical operation, expecte4d in spring 2015, and the Hague Conference’s upcoming report on surrogacy, the Children & Youth Studies/ People, Environment, and Resources research program of the ISS.
The forum was organized in plenary sessions that included as keynote speakers Hans van Loon, Former Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) from 1996 to 2013, and who initiated and laid the groundwork for the HCIA; Norma Cruz, Founder and Director of the Guatemalan Survivors Foundation, a human rights defender for mothers and their children abducted into international adoption, a 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and winner of US State Department's 2009 International Woman of Courage Award; and Deepa Venkatachalam, Director of the Sama-Resource Group for Women and Health, and specialist in the social, medical, ethical and economic implications of surrogacy for women and society. The forum included five thematic areas: (1) HCIA Implementation and the Best Interests of the Child; (2) Intercountry Adoption, Countries of Origin, and Biological Families; (3) Intercountry Adoption Agencies and the HCIA; (4) Force, Fraud, Coercion, and (5) Global Surrogacy Practices.
Monico presented to the estimated 25 participants in the thematic group on Force, Fraud and Coercion, which dealt with irregular intercountry adoption practices. She discussed the results of her dissertation on the experience of Guatemalan women whose children were abducted for intercountry adoption, and their relevance to the HCIA implementation in that country and globally. She also hosted a delegation of representatives from the Survivors Foundation and the National Council on Adoption from Guatemala, and served as facilitator of one of the sessions of that thematic group. The College of Arts and Science funded Dr. Monico’s presentation and participation in the Forum, given the critical importance of this global event.
Plenary sessions were live streamed, and a report will be produced and shared through in the ISS website on the Forum: http://www.iss.nl/research/conferences_and_seminars/periodic_conferences_debates_and_seminars/international_forum_on_intercountry_adoption_global_surrogacy/.