The Convention has not entered into force between Guatemala and the five States mentioned below, which have raised an objection to the accession of Guatemala:
Canada (Note received by the depositary on 24 July 2003)
"…the Government of Canada welcomes the willingness shown by other Contracting States and the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law to assist the Government of Guatemala to reform its adoption procedures.
Despite these positive aspects, the Embassy wishes to inform the Ministry that the Government of Canada would like to raise an objection to the accession of the Republic of Guatemala to the Convention, in accordance with article 44.3 thereof, at this time. In raising those objection, the Government of Canada wishes to allow the Government of Guatemala sufficient time to incorporate the standards and requirements of the Convention into its adoption procedures. Once these measures are put in place, the Government of Canada will review its objection with a view to having it withdrawn."
Germany (Note received by the depositary on 22 July 2003)
"The Federal Republic of Germany raises an objection to the accession of Guatemala under Article 44 (3) of the Hague Convention on protection of children and co-operation in respect of intercountry adoption. However Germany reserves the rights to withdraw the objection."
Netherlands (for the Kingdom in Europe and Aruba) (Note received by the depositary on 18 July 2003)
The Netherlands objects to the acceptance of Guatemala’s accession to the Hague Convention on protection of children and co-operation in respect of intercountry adoption, because it has emerged that Guatemala cannot yet meet the requirements imposed by the Convention.
A meeting was held on 20 May 2003 at the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law between the head of the Procuradoría de la Nación (the body Guatemala has designated as the Central Authority), staff of the Central Authorities of other member states, and a representative of Unicef, at which it became clear that Guatemala is currently taking measures to implement the Convention. A Central Authority has now been designated and organised. Further steps are under consideration. However, measures are not yet in place:
1. to establish whether children are adoptable (article 4, paragraph 1(a) of the Convention);
2. to determine that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests and whether possibilities for placement exist within the State of origin (Guatemala does not have a child protection system or a database of Guatemalan adoptive parents) (article 4, paragraph 1(b) of the Convention);
3. to ensure that consent has been given properly by the parent or parents, and that they have been duly informed of the consequences of their consent (article 4, paragraph 1(c) of the Convention).
It also emerged at the meeting that opponents of the Convention in Guatemala have instituted proceedings to challenge its constitutionality. The Netherlands is not yet aware of the outcome. It is clear that it will not be easy for the Guatemalan authorities to implement all the Convention’s provisions.
The findings of the meeting on 20 May have been confirmed by information provided by the Dutch embassy in Guatemala and the International Social Service/International Resource Centre for Protection of Children in Adoption in Geneva.
In the light of the foregoing, the Netherlands advocates suspending acceptance of Guatemala’s accession until it has been established beyond doubt that the Convention’s conditions can be fulfilled. At present there are insufficient guarantees that adoptions in Guatemala take place with due regard for the safeguards afforded by the Convention.
Spain (Note received by the depositary on 25 July 2003)
Spain welcomes Guatemala’s accession to the present Convention to the extent that this implies that Guatemala is willing to improve its adoption system. However, Spain is concerned that Guatemala’s accession may impact on the relations between Spain and Guatemala, in that the Guatemalan legislation governing adoption will not have been amended nor the administrative provisions necessary to develop its adoption system introduced by the time of its accession.
Nevertheless, Spain wishes to demonstrate its willingness to establish the necessary cooperation mechanisms between the competent Spanish and Guatemalan public authorities, so that this development takes place as soon as possible, to allow the central authorities of both countries to work together within the framework of the Convention.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Note received by the depositary on 25 July 2003)
"In accordance with Article 44 of the Convention, the United Kingdom hereby objects to the accession of Guatemala in respect of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man and declares that Guatemala’s accession will have no effect as regards relations between the United Kingdom and Guatemala."