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Student Staff Update: Maitte Barrientos

By October 16, 2015December 16th, 2019Advocates Int'l, Student Staff
The following is an update from student staff member and 2L Maitte Barrientos. Maitte also spent her summer interning as a law clerk for Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, which you can read about here.
This semester I was given the opportunity to work for on a project for Advocates International, which is an organization that promotes global justice, rule of law, religious freedom, and encourages reconciliation and integrity.  Advocates International not only bases their core functions on Biblical truths, but also embraces a worldwide fellowship of Christian advocates in the legal profession.  This year Advocates International has partnered with World without Orphans with a combined goal of facilitating in-country adoptions of children in Nepal and other Asian countries.  I, alongside with Natasha Delille, Hadil Arusi and Kate Sawyer (project leader), am working on a legal memorandum that will detail the importance of promoting in-country adoption of Nepalese orphans in a manner which reflects the best interests of the child.

So far, research has revealed that violence against Nepalese children is widespread and rarely prosecuted, many are abandoned due to the imprisonment of their parents, and some have no legal rights (beyond the ability to remain in the country) because they come from Tibetan immigrant parents.  All of this combined leads to a high number of undocumented orphaned children making it difficult to determine whether to place them for adoption or attempt locating their biological parents.  Adoption in Nepal is governed by their General Code, which defines and outlines what it means to be an orphan and how adoption proceedings should be handled.  However, that code is not adequately implemented in the community and many unregistered orphans find themselves battling for access to education (including children with disabilities) and escaping enforced child labor.  Further, because of unreliable and fabricated documents, the U.S Department of State in 2010 decided to suspend any adoption of abandoned Nepalese children.

This memorandum will facilitate in-country adoption by informing the responsible Nepalese organizations of relevant issues in their existing judicial system and make legal recommendations which will equip them to better respect the best interest of the child throughout the entire process.