Thursday, July 8, 2010

MEDIA: (Australia/Ethiopia) Families in the dark as adoption chief quits

Families in the dark as adoption chief quits
By Cassie White for News Online's Investigative Unit

The man who ran Australia's adoption program with Ethiopia for 20 years has stood down amidst ongoing serious allegations of corruption.
... Adoptive familes have welcomed the news Mr Gebeyehu will no longer be in charge, but have condemned what they say is the Federal Government's "secrecy" surrounding the real reason he stood aside.

Full story:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/08/2948000.htm?section=justin

***Apology issued by ABC Australia:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/08/2948000.htm

Updated Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:16am AEST

Editor's note
On 8 July 2010 the ABC published a story titled "Families in the Dark as Adoption Chief Quits" and on 16 March 2010 the ABC published a story titled "Australians Caught in Ethiopian Adoption Nightmare", which reported on matters concerning the Australian Ethiopian adoption program. The ABC has received a complaint from Ato Lakew Gebeyehu claiming these publications were defamatory of him. The ABC would like to make clear that it did not intend to infer that Mr Gebeyehu created false documents or that he otherwise engaged in corrupt or improper conduct or activities detrimental to children in his care or the performance of his functions, and retracts any such inference. The ABC apologises to Mr Gebeyehu and his family for any distress caused by any readers believing he was personally involved in those matters. The ABC also acknowledges that problems in the Australian-Ethiopian adoption program were reported by the parents of three Australian families but that other parents involved in the program have reported positive experiences with the program.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.
http://www.pear-now.org/

6 comments:

Leisa said...

The article by Cassie White of the ABC
and the related articles are very biased and do not represent the views of the
majority of adoptive parents in Australia.

Let's be very clear about this article...The very first paragraph is
sensationalism at its worst. Ato Lakew has not stood down amid allegations of
corruption. Since the Attorney General's Department took over International
Adoptions it has fully investigated all allegations made against the Ethiopian
program.

Ato Lakew was cleared of the 2007 accusations of child trafficking made against
him when it became obvious that it was a case of mistaken identity. The
implication that the Australian authorities didn't investigate is false. They
did and confirmed his innocence. Please see their response to the ABC's
questions here...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/ethiopia-adoption/ag-response.htm

The implication that all adoptive families welcomed the news that Ato Lakew
resigned is also false. The vast majority of parents have been offended by this
statement and have made it clear to ABC online that we do not agree with this
statement.

The Ethiopian-Australian program is one that my family and I have committed to.
The Australian adoption system has the potential to be world's best and
Australia is taking an active part in the protection of children. But it is
very distressing when these ugly accusations are made. I take consolation in
the fact that this article is simply a rehash of past grievances and that the
ABC reporter has just tried to make a new story out of old news.

We have waited almost six years to complete our family and in all likely hood
will wait another two until our child or children join our family. We are
committed to the successful future of this adoption program.

Kind Regards
Leisa
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

PEAR said...

Dear Leisa,

Thank you for providing us with an additional viewpoint and opinion. Are you able to share with us why Ato Lakew is stepping down? Can you share with us a resource for this?

We have noted that the Astralian government is not stating why Ato Lakew is stepping down. http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Intercountry_AdoptionWhats_New

Gina Pollock
PEAR

Leisa said...

Dear Gina

I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond to your question regarding my comment of 9th July with reference to the ABC online article about the Australian-Ethiopian adoption program.

It was a great disappointment to me that the Attorney General's Department didn't release a statement refuting the allegations in the article, they advised our support group that was their intention and then changed their minds. Having said that we did receive information through community representatives.

They emphasised that the claims in the media article did not reflect the views of the Australian Government or Attorney-General’s Department. They confirmed that they have been working with Ato Lakew for many years and have trust and confidence in his ability to manage intercountry adoption cases on behalf of the Australian Government.

But during recent negotiations about a new service agreement between the Australian Government and Ato Lakew, a mutual decision was made that he would retire at the end of this year. They confirmed that the Australian Government continues to have trust and confidence in Ato Lakew and is committed to a smooth transition.

We need the help and support of the wider adoption community to assist the Australian government in their continued work in bringing about a strong and ethical adoption program with Ethiopia. At present we have no new representative in Ethiopia and no orphanage to refer children to the Australian program.

Kind Regards
Leisa
Australia

Leisa said...

Please the apology issued by ABC Australia regarding this article.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/08/2948000.htm

Editor's note
On 8 July 2010 the ABC published a story titled "Families in the Dark as Adoption Chief Quits" and on 16 March 2010 the ABC published a story titled "Australians Caught in Ethiopian Adoption Nightmare", which reported on matters concerning the Australian Ethiopian adoption program. The ABC has received a complaint from Ato Lakew Gebeyehu claiming these publications were defamatory of him. The ABC would like to make clear that it did not intend to infer that Mr Gebeyehu created false documents or that he otherwise engaged in corrupt or improper conduct or activities detrimental to children in his care or the performance of his functions, and retracts any such inference. The ABC apologises to Mr Gebeyehu and his family for any distress caused by any readers believing he was personally involved in those matters. The ABC also acknowledges that problems in the Australian-Ethiopian adoption program were reported by the parents of three Australian families but that other parents involved in the program have reported positive experiences with the program.

Leisa said...

Thank you for posting the ABC apology. Unfortunately the damage was done and the ABC need to do a follow up article. But of course who would trust them to report truthfully.

Leisa said...

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Intercountry_AdoptionWhats_New#feb2011

great news for the Ethiopian Australian adoption program

Regards
Leisa