Bastard Nation Urges Congress to Proceed with Hague Convention Ratification
March 20, 2000
After four months of extensive negotiations involving both Houses of Congress, the House International Relations Committee has released an “Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2909,” dated 16 March, 2000. We believe that this draft represents an acceptable (although not optimal) basis for U.S. ratification of the Convention. This draft was produced after consultation with a broad range of advocacy groups, including Bastard Nation. A summary of the key points in the Amendment are provided below:
- Provides a measure of protection for the right of foreign born U.S. adoptees to access personal information about themselves held by the Federal government, pursuant to the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (Title 8 of the U.S. Code);
- Removes restrictions regarding the release of non-identifying information; – Removes provisions that would have established Federal access restrictions (and, in fact, Federal jurisdiction) over adoption records not previously subject to Federal jurisdiction; and
- Removes prospective criminal and civil penalties for adoptees and their families seeking access to their information, subject to compliance with existing Federal laws. The full text of the Amendment may be found at http://bastards.org/activism/hr2909.pdf. You may need to download a free copy of Acrobat Reader at the Adobe website. to read the document.
The Hague Convention itself provides for language affirming the human rights of inter-country adoptees, including the concept of identity rights. We urge Congress to ratify the Convention and the Executive Branch to implement it on an expedited basis, in a manner consistent with its intent. As the Amendment is not open records legislation, Bastard Nation will not officially ask its members to write legislators in support of it; however, you may wish to write your Federal legislators as well as the members of the House International Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as an individual to express your support of Hague Convention ratification, stating clearly that such ratification should be completed using the language contained in the Amendment draft. Note that the actual date of the Amendment draft may be as late as 20 March, 2000.
A contact list for Federal legislators may be found at: http://www.capweb.net/classic/. Phone calls and letters are preferable to e-mail.
Executive Committee of Bastard Nation