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S.Res. 502 (113th): A resolution concerning the suspension of exit permit issuance by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo for adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 15, 2014 (Introduced).


III

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. RES. 502

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 15, 2014

(for himself, Ms. Landrieu, Mr. Alexander, Ms. Ayotte, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Boozman, Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Brown, Mr. Burr, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Chambliss, Mr. Coats, Ms. Collins, Mr. Corker, Mr. Cornyn, Mr. Crapo, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Donnelly, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Enzi, Mrs. Feinstein, Mrs. Fischer, Mr. Franken, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Grassley, Mrs. Hagan, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Johanns, Mr. Johnson of Wisconsin, Mr. King, Mr. Kirk, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Levin, Mr. Markey, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. McCain, Mr. McConnell, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Moran, Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Paul, Mr. Rubio, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Tester, Mr. Thune, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Warner, Ms. Warren, and Mr. Wicker) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

RESOLUTION

Concerning the suspension of exit permit issuance by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo for adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.

Whereas according to UNICEF, over 4,000,000 orphans are estimated to be living in the Democratic Republic of Congo;

Whereas cyclical and violent conflict has plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo since the mid-1990s;

Whereas the United States has made significant financial investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing an estimated $274,000,000 bilateral aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo in fiscal year 2013 and an additional $165,000,000 in emergency humanitarian assistance;

Whereas the policy of the United States Government toward the Democratic Republic of Congo is focused on helping the country become a nation that … provides for the basic needs of its citizens;

Whereas the United Nations, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and other international organizations have recognized a child's right to a family as a basic human right worthy of protection;

Whereas adoption, both domestic and international, is an important child protection tool and an integral part of child welfare best practices around the world, along with family reunification and prevention of abandonment;

Whereas, on September 27, 2013, the Congolese Ministry of Interior and Security, General Direction of Migration, informed the United States Embassy in Kinshasa that effective September 25, 2013, they had suspended issuance of exit permits to adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents;

Whereas there are United States families with finalized adoptions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the necessary legal paperwork and visas ready to travel home with these children but are currently unable to do so; and

Whereas, on December 19, 2013, the Congolese Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior and Security, and the General Direction of Migration confirmed to members of the United States Department of State that the current suspension on the issuance of exit permits continues: Now, therefore, be it

That the Senate

(1)

affirms that all children deserve a safe, loving, and permanent family;

(2)

recognizes the importance of ensuring that international adoptions of all children are conducted in an ethical and transparent manner;

(3)

expresses concern over the impact on children and families caused by the current suspension of exit permit issuance within the Democratic Republic of Congo;

(4)

respectfully requests that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo—

(A)

resume processing adoption cases and issuing exit permits via the Ministry of Gender and Family’s Interministerial Adoption Committee and Directorate of General Migration;

(B)

prioritize the processing of intercountry adoptions which were initiated before the suspension; and

(C)

expedite the processing of those adoptions which involve medically fragile children; and

(5)

encourages continued dialogue and cooperation between the United States Department of State and the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to improve the intercountry adoption process and ensure the welfare of all children adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo.