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Friday, February 26, 2010

Haiti's children held hostage by UNICEF's agenda

article by Doug Phillips (click here to read online)

By the age of 8, Bernard had been living alone as a beggar on the streets of Haiti for more than a year. His mother abandoned him when he was 7. He has not seen her since. Two weeks ago, Dr. John Leininger, president of Harvest International and long-time veteran of Haitian orphan relief, found Bernard. The boy was begging, hungry, filthy and covered in scabies, a contagious skin disease caused by a species of mite that burrow in the skin and create rashes, sores and extreme itching. With Bernard's consent, he was taken to the orphanage for medical treatment, food and some TLC. He has not left since.

"The question is this: Is he an orphan?" Dr. Leininger asks. "When a parent has to choose between starvation and abandoning that child, is the child an orphan? Certainly! But the latest guidelines would prevent us from having Bernard adopted. ... This is just one more method UNICEF has used successfully to prevent adoptions."

This frustration is common. Within the community of Haitian orphan rescue mission organizations, it has long been known that United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, frowns upon American adoptions. Since the devastating Jan. 12 catastrophe that left hundreds of thousands of Haitian children orphaned and in deplorable conditions, UNICEF has mounted an international publicity campaign and worked behind the scenes pressuring Haitian government officials to shut down international adoptions. Their message to the world has been clear: In order to preserve local cultures, out-of-country adoptions must be stopped.

No group has done more to save children's lives and give hope to Haiti's orphan population than Christian orphanages. Despite this fact, the scope of UNICEF's anti-adoption activities was officially extended last week to public opposition to orphanages. Marie de la Soudiere, the coordinator for UNICEF's separated-children fund told Time magazine: "Our answer is 'no' to orphanages."

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UNICEF's plan is now to register and take greater control of Haiti's orphans. According to UNICEF's own spokesman, they have currently registered a mere 130 of the nation's 350,000 plus orphans – not a whopping number.

To counter the overwhelming pro-adoption sentiment, and to shift the debate, UNICEF has turned to the emotionally charged claim that adoptions lead to child sex-trafficking. This cause was given a huge boost by the arrest and politicization of the story of 10 American missionaries who improperly attempted to assist some Haitian parents by bringing 33 children to safety in the Dominican Republic.

Yet, to date, there have been no documented cases of child sex-trafficking connected with American adoptions. The thought is so repugnant, however, that the mere mention of the charge is sometimes enough to shut down debate.

Dr. John Leininger told me that "UNICEF … is trying to raise the issue of child trafficking at this time because there is so much interest from American families ... desiring to adopt a child, because they've seen the devastation, and they've seen the need of these children over here. Children sleeping in the mud … uncovered in cold nights here. And it's pitiful to me."

To promote their agenda, UNICEF has teamed up with the Hollywood elite, including Hollywood leftist Sean Penn. The actor who made headlines last year for winning an Oscar for his portrayal of homosexual activist Harvey Milk announced to the world on Larry King that God is a bully to the Haitian people. A little over a week later, Angelina Jolie arrived in Haiti, urging parents not to adopt Haitian orphans at this time.

"The power of the media is amazing, and we all know it. Perception rules," Leininger commented. "And it is clear that UNICEF and other organizations are taking this moment to bring in celebrities … to try to push their point, which, again, has been totally unproven and [is] unsubstantiatable."

Dixie Bickel, a registered nurse and director of Haiti's God's Littlest Angels orphanage, explains the sentiment of many leaders in Haiti who have labored for years before the Haitian earthquake: "UNICEF appears to be the only organization that we're aware of that is currently working in Haiti that isn't working for the good of the children and the families that have suffered so much in this tragedy. ... There are people who want to provide for these children but aren't being allowed to. Why? So that UNICEF can say that they are in charge? It boggles the mind."

The crisis caused by this politicization of Haiti's orphan tragedy is compounded by UNICEF's own checkered past, which includes its activities as an international promoter of abortion and a distributor of abortifacients, as well as a disturbing record of human sterilization in other poor, predominantly black nations like Jamaica. Is this UNICEF's direction in Haiti? Will they continue to assist abortion providers? Will their answer to the Haitian orphan overpopulation problem be more sterilizations?

What is clear is this: UNICEF officials are harassing Christian orphanages. Reports from within the community of Christian orphan relief organizations indicate that UNICEF officials have been flexing their muscles and have even resorted to mild forms of unlawful harassment of relief workers promoting adoption of Haitian children by American families.

Earlier this week, unaccompanied UNICEF officials arrived at God's Littlest Angels orphanage and began making demands and giving directives to orphanage director Bickel. But as a United Nations organization independent of Haiti, UNICEF has no authority to act independently of the Haitian government when it comes to dictating policy to Christian orphanages. In fact, Haitian policy prevents official visits by UNICEF to private orphanages where they are unaccompanied by official representatives of Haitian social services.

Sadly, UNICEF's anti-adoption campaign is having a chilling effect on the rescue of Haiti's children from life-threatening danger. Private medical evacuations of critically injured Haitian children to the United States for treatment have largely stopped because aid workers, doctors and government officials are worried about being accused of kidnapping if they transport the children without first getting paperwork that is slow to arrive or is unavailable.

Elizabeth Greig, the field hospital administrator for the University of Miami medical facility, told the New York Times: "At least 10 other children have died or become worse while waiting to be airlifted out of the country. Dozens of children are in critical need of care, and there has been no shortage of American hospitals or pilots willing to take them," but without the paperwork – itself seemingly impossible to procure – pilots are afraid that they will be prosecuted for helping children.

In a world that has been turned upside down, where the government is in shambles and where hundreds of thousands of bodies remain unidentified, how do you fulfill UNICEF's policy guidelines that victims prove that their parents are dead before being brought to safety in America?

For many orphan rescue ministries in Haiti, the issue is simple: The crisis is immediate, and lawful, appropriate action must be taken to facilitate adoption so that thousands of children can be spared unimaginable hardship, and in some cases, the possibility of death.

Yet at a time where countless children like Bernard are at risk of starvation, UNICEF is using politics and improper techniques against orphanages to advance a cause that is not in the best interest of Haiti's children.

1 comment:

Carin, priceless child of God said...

Just heart breaking... I just keep praying for hearts to change... and safety for the children.