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Adoption (Intercountry Aspects) Act 1999

The 1993 Hague Convention

11.This Convention is essentially a framework setting out minimum standards for the process of intercountry adoption to work in the best interests of the children concerned and enable countries to absorb its Articles within their own substantive law.  The Convention is underpinned by the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which set out principles concerning the rights of children and included reference to adoption where a child cannot live with his or her own birth parents.   Preparation of the Convention involved more than 65 countries, including the UK, as well as non-government organisations and other voluntary bodies with an interest in intercountry adoption.

12.As at the beginning of August 1999, 26 countries have ratified the Convention, 35 have signed (UK in January 1994) and a further 9 have acceded (accession is effectively ratification by countries who sent no delegates to the final ‘diplomatic’ session of the Hague Conference in May 1993).   A country that has ratified or acceded to the Convention is described as a ‘Contracting State’.   A State that allows its children to be adopted by families living overseas according to the Convention is known as a ‘State of origin’; a State which permits a child to enter its country and live permanently with the adoptive parents is a ‘Receiving State’.

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