Switzerland is to ratify the Hague convention on the adoption of children, after both houses of parliament approved the treaty. Two thirds of all children adopted in Switzerland come from abroad.
The House of Representatives on Thursday followed the Senate's lead, paving the way for Switzerland to ratify the treaty. It is aimed at combating abuse of adopted children and promoting cooperation between the child's country of origin and the country where its adoptive parents live.
Under a compromise agreed in the Swiss parliament, intermediaries who place children with adoptive parents must obtain permission from the government. It remains up the cantons to supervise the adoption brokers, although they must notify the federal authorities when any decision is taken.
The federal government will have the final say in every case.
The new law will cut in half the probation period preceding an adoption from two years to one. It also fixes a fine of SFr100,000 ($55,741) and a maximum jail term of ten years for child traffickers.
People who adopt children without respecting the regulations will also be liable for fines.
From age 18, adopted children will have the right to access information about their biological parents, but they in turn will have to right to refuse a meeting with their children.
Two thirds of children adopted in Switzerland each year come from abroad, but the majority of Swiss children are adopted by a stepparent.
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