On the eve of the adoption hearing in Malawi, Madonna has been accused of being a “child trafficker” by the country's human rights organization.
On Friday a court is due to rule on her petition for an 18 month interim adoption order for four-year-old girl Mercy James. But the Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has blasted the 50-year-old’s adoption attempt in the strongest possible way.
“In the absence of clear laws and procedures, this process of adoption amounts to nothing but child trafficking,” said the HRCC’s national co-ordinator, Mavuto Bamusi. “She must follow procedure. She is simply using her profile and the money to manipulate the process. We should not be seen to be legalizing child trafficking.” Malawian law prohibits non-nationals from adopting a local child unless they have been resident in the country for 18 months.
Bamusi added: “It is an unfortunate scenario, in that someone is trying to take advantage of the weak laws to abuse the system. I also feel that children should be adopted into families that are stable. Madonna just got divorced.”
Madonna’s latest adoption attempt (she adopted son David from Malawi in 2006) has divided public opinion in one of the world’s poorest countries where three-quarters of the 12 million population lives on less than $2 a day and about one million children are orphaned because of HIV/AIDS.
Malawi’s main newspaper The Nation has backed Madonna’s attempt writing in their editorial: “The child is being given a future that many children in Malawi can’t even dream about.” Mercy’s mother died when she was only 5-years-old and the identity of her father remains unclear.
One caller to Malawi’s Capital Radio, Michael, said: “Look at David - who could have loved that boy the way Madonna does?