Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) June 19, 2014
Both Ends Burning (BEB), a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to defending every child’s human right to a permanent loving family, today announced that on June 24 & 25, dozens of American families will visit Capitol Hill to address the human rights crisis facing their adopted children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These families have nearly 100 meetings scheduled with Members of Congress over the course of the two days.
In September 2013, the DRC announced it would no longer issue an exit letter for Congolese adopted children, thus preventing them from leaving the country. As a result, Both Ends Burning reports that more than 350 American families have legally adopted children in the DRC and are, in most cases, financially supporting those children - yet they can’t get them home. Despite having legal families in the United States, these children are facing illness, malnutrition and, in some cases, death. An additional 350 American families have been matched with children and are in the process of finalizing their adoptions through the still-active Congolese courts though when they do they, too, will be unable to bring their children home because of the suspension on exit letters.
As reported on the US Department of State's Intercountry Adoption website, the DRC recently told US authorities that the suspension will only be lifted once new laws are written and enacted, and that such an undertaking will not even begin before this fall. The Department of State is telling the American families that they may have to begin anew, as the adoptions they have already completed may no longer qualify. Both Ends Burning is calling on Congress to make this human rights crisis a priority and to engage directly with the Government of Democratic Republic of Congo to end the suspension and to allow the children who have been adopted or are in the process to come home to their families under the current law. Both Ends Burning is also asking that medically fragile children be expedited as quickly as possible so they can get the medical treatment and care they need.
Both Ends Burning has engaged over 300 of the waiting American families in an advocacy campaign resulting in more than 115,00 letters to Congress, 170 signatures on a letter from Congress to the President and Prime Minister of DRC, and coverage via local media outlets across the nation. To date, 19 children have been issued exit letters since the advocacy campaign began in April.
“It is not reasonable to simply wait and see what happens next, as the Department of State suggests these families do”, said Kelly Dempsey, Counsel and Director of Outreach and Advocacy at BEB, “We must use every resource available to find a way to end this crisis and bring these children home.”
For more information: https://bothendsburning.org/help-out/current-initiatives/congolese-orphans-unstuck/
About: Both Ends Burning is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to defending every child’s human right to a permanent loving family. Learn more at http://www.bothendsburning.org.