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International Adoption: The Human Rights Position

Elizabeth Bartholet

Harvard Law School

July 24, 2009

Global Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2010

International adoption is under siege, with the number of children placed dropping each of the last several years, and many countries imposing severe new restrictions. Key forces mounting the attack claim the child human rights mantle, arguing that such adoption denies heritage rights, and often involves abusive practices. Many nations assert rights to hold onto the children born within their borders, and others support these demands citing subsidiarity principles. But children’s most basic human rights, at the heart of the true meaning of subsidiarity, are to grow up in the families that will often be found only in international adoption. These rights should trump any conflicting state sovereignty claims.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: adoption, human rights, children, child welfare

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Date posted: August 20, 2009 ; Last revised: December 29, 2015

Suggested Citation

Bartholet, Elizabeth, International Adoption: The Human Rights Position (July 24, 2009). Global Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1446811

Contact Information

Elizabeth Bartholet (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
Hauser Hall 422
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
(617) 495-3128 (Phone)
(617) 496-4947 (Fax)

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