Page last updated at 22:50 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Nepal to allow foreign adoptions

Nepalese children from a refuge home
Many Nepalese children live in children's homes and refuges

Nepal's government is once again allowing foreign nationals to adopt children from the country.

Adoptions were halted last year after allegations of corruption and reports that children were being sold off.

A number of foreign adoption agencies will now be allowed to process requests from prospective parents in countries including the US, Germany and Canada.

The countries were chosen because of their good education and health care systems, a Nepali official said.

'Children abducted'

"We'll soon start accepting applications from prospective families for adoption through the accredited agencies," said Prakash Kumar Adhikari, from the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.

He said 58 foreign agencies would be allowed to act as "intermediaries" between the adoptive families and the Nepali authorities.

The government suspended international adoptions last year, as an increasing number of problems came to light.

The UN Children's Fund, Unicef, and the Swiss child rights charity Terre des Hommes reported that it was common for children to be abducted, trafficked and, in effect, sold.

Correspondents say a number of children's homes had opened with the aim of making money from adoptions overseas.

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