Vanuatu’s first adoption law will put childrens’ interests first, says Justice Minister

File image of a newborn baby sleeping in a Vanuatu hospital. Photo: Connor Ashleigh/DFAT

File image of a newborn baby sleeping in a Vanuatu hospital. Photo: Connor Ashleigh/DFAT

Justice Minister Warsal has initiated the drafting of Vanuatu’s first adoption law. “We need a law which suits the local context and addresses the real interests of our children”, Minister Warsal told VBTC News today. The new Bill will likely be debated in November.

Vanuatu does not currently have its own specific legislation covering adoption, and currently uses the UK’s Adoption Act of 1958. And Vanuatu is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, the international treaty that provides legal safeguards that protect the best interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents who are involved in intercountry adoptions.

The Department of Livestock needs better legislation, says new head Lonnie Bong. A workshop on the topic is taking place at Santo. Both smallholder and large plantation interests are represented, as everyone wants for all ideas to be debated by everyone. Two local consultants have been appointed to draft the legislation, Hamlison Bulu and former livestock director Thomas Bangalini. A draft is to be ready by July.

The new Department of Water is exploring all options for improving access to clean water for the people of Vanuatu. Next Monday there will be a consultation meeting with the people of Port Vila to start the ball rolling. The meeting will take place at the Melanesian Hotel conference room, from 2 pm. Minister Regenvanu has invited a range of people to share their views.