Attorney-General Nicola Roxon explained this difficult decision has been taken following extensive consideration of the sustainability of the program and the best interests of Ethiopian children.
“The best interests and rights of children are the most important consideration for intercountry adoption programs.
“Children should grow up safe from harm, know their background and heritage, and not be separated from their parents against their will, except where this is necessary for their best interests or parents give their free and informed consent.
“Unfortunately, the adoption environment in Ethiopia has become increasingly unpredictable, complex and uncertain, leaving many prospective Australian parents in limbo for years.
“The Government has concluded that this uncertainty, combined with obstacles to operating the program in a sustainable and ethical way into the future, means the program needs to be closed.
“This has been a tough decision, but a necessary one.”
The Government has also noted that within Ethiopia more and more domestic opportunities are becoming available for children to be adopted or provided long-term care by Ethiopian families. The Government strongly supports the Ethiopian Government’s efforts in this area.
“These factors in Ethiopia, which are beyond our control, make it extremely difficult to continue our program there,” Ms Roxon said.
“I know that there are families who have been committed to the program and will be disappointed.
“Of course the Government and our State and Territory counterparts will do all we can to support those affected, including considering other programs if they wish.”
Australia will continue to support the Ethiopian Government in protecting the best interests of children domestically.
“Australia has already committed $45 million to a Maternal and Child Health Initiative in Ethopia, which is being delivered by AusAID.”
Source: Attorney-General's Department