Madonna was rejected Friday in her bid to a adopt 4-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James by a Malawi judge .
"This is a triumph for the children of Malawi," Mavuto Bamusi, the national coordinator of Malawi Human Rights Consultative Committee, told CNN. "Inter-country adoption is not the best way of providing protection to children... they should grow up in familiar cultural and religious surroundings... and supporting children from outside our country only helps five of the 1.5 million orphans we have."
Prospective parents must live in the country for an 18-month period before they are eligible to adopt children there, the judge said in giving a reason why the application was rejected.
"The decision came down to residency requirement and the fact that the judge believes she was being well taken care of in the orphanage," Zione Ntaba, a spokeswoman for the Malawi Justice Department, told CNN. "For the Malawians, the fact that the child is at an orphanage, is being taken care of and is going through the school education system, that does qualify as the best interests of a child."
Madonna -- who can appeal the ruling -- adopted her 3-year-old son, David, in 2006, despite never having spent an extended period of time in the African nation.
The AP reported that the judge who informed them did not make the ruling, but witnessed it; and that a lawyer was present when the ruling was made confirmed the ruling with them. Both spoke with the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case, according to the AP.
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