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Be tough on Madonna adoption: Malawi rights group PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 12 April 2008

AFP, BLANTYRE - Tough conditions should be attached to pop star Madonna's adoption of a Malawi boy, a human rights group said Friday, warning unscrupulous traffickers may use the case to justify illegal adoption.

Maxwell Matewere, a spokesman for the Human Rights Consultative Committee, which attempted to legally challenge the controversial adoption, said a Malawi court should attach "tough guidelines" if it grants Madonna permanent custody.

Matewere warned Madonna's controversial adoption of toddler David Banda could allow others to take advantage of Malawi's lack of inter-country adoption laws.

"Others might apply to adopt and use the Madonna case to justify adoption and yet they could be illegal adoptions for trafficking, organs and sexual exploitation," he warned.

The high court is expected to set a date next week to rule on whether Madonna can officially adopt David, who has been living in London with the star and her filmmaker husband Guy Ritchie under an interim custody order.

The granting of the temporary order ignited a storm of protest from the local rights group and heated debate about adoption laws in the poor southern African nation.

The Malawi government is widely expected to back permanent adoption of David by Madonna and her filmmaker husband Guy Ritchie. It was not clear whether Madonna would appear in court, which her lawyer has said she is not compelled to do when the ruling is made.

Malawi, where the number of orphans has peaked to one million as a result of AIDS, is reforming its laws to allow easier adoptions by foreigners.

David was brought to an orphanage in Mchinji, 110 kilometres (70 miles) from Lilongwe, by his father Yohane Banda after his mother died shortly after birth. His father, who ekes out a living as a peasant farmer, said he let his son be adopted by Madonna to escape grinding poverty rampant in the southern African nation.

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