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Nigel Cantwell
The Best Interests of the Child in Intercountry Adoption
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Publications produced by the Office are contributions to a global debate on children and child rights issues and include a wide range of opinions. The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect UNICEF policies or approaches. There is universal agreement, embedded in international human rights law, that the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration in any decisions made about a child’s future. In the case of adoption, which represents one of the most far-reaching and definitive decisions that could be made about the future of any child - the selection of their parents - international law qualifies the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration. This study responds, in particular, to one key question: what is it that enables a policy, process, decision or practice to be qualified as either respectful or in violation of the best interests of the child in intercountry adoption?
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