Adoption - special restrictions: list of countries

Countries in which special restrictions are in place, published under section 62 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.


Title of order: Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Cambodia) Order 2008
Date order in force: 7 October 2008

The Order places on a statutory footing the suspension of adoptions from Cambodia that is currently in place. On 22 June 2004, Margaret Hodge, the Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families at the (then) Department for Education and Skills, within the UK Government, announced a temporary suspension of adoptions of Cambodian children by UK residents. The suspension was introduced in response to evidence that the safeguards in the Cambodian adoption system were insufficient to prevent children being adopted without proper consents being given by their birth parents and improper financial gain being made by individuals involved in the adoption process. The specific areas of concern included:

  • evidence relating to the systematic falsification of Cambodian official documents related to the adoption of children
  • evidence relating to the extensive involvement of adoption facilitators in the adoption procedure in Cambodia, even though Cambodian law expressly forbids facilitators participating in the adoption process
  • evidence relating to the procurement of children for intercountry adoption by facilitators, including by coercion and by paying birth mothers to give up their children
  • concern about the prevalence of child trafficking and corruption generally in Cambodia

On 27 September 2007, Kevin Brennan, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, within the UK Government, announced a review of the suspension introduced in 2004, the purpose of which was to update the information on which the suspension was based, to find out what concerns, if any, remain valid and whether there are any other concerns about practices taking place.

On 2 April 2008 following that review, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State announced that the suspension remained in place. Evidence from the review demonstrated that:

  • adoption legislation, practice and procedure in Cambodia remain insufficient to ensure the proper protection of children and their families
  • lifting the suspension would expose Cambodian children and their families to an increased risk of improper practices that are contrary to the principles of the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Cambodian government has requested assistance in this area from the Secretariat of the Hague Convention. However, there is no evidence to demonstrate that there have been substantive changes to practice on the ground since the announcement of the outcome of the review. The Scottish Ministers are of the view that, because of practices taking place in Cambodia, it would be contrary to public policy to further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Cambodia as specified in section 62(1) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.


Email: – Central Enquiry Unit

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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