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tabled for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure
by Philippe Morillon and Antoine Duquesne
on the trafficking of children in Guatemala

Procedure : 2005/2590(RSP)
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European parliament resolution on the trafficking of children in Guatemala

The European parliament,

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Guatemala, in particular that of January 1999,

-  having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989,

-  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Governments of Guatemala and Mexico to address the cross-border trafficking issues that plague that region,

-  having regard to the Final Act of the XVIIth European Union-Latin America Interparliamentary Conference, which took place in Lima from 14-16 June 2005,

-  having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Guatemala is a source, transit and destination country for women and children from Guatemala and other Central American countries, trafficked for the purposes of sexual and labour exploitation,

B.  whereas numerous reports of illegal adoptions and baby trading have dogged Guatemala for years, of mothers being forced, or paid, to give up their newborn babies and of a booming private adoption business,

C.  whereas Guatemala has the weakest adoption laws in Central America,

D.  whereas international adoptions are an important form of international cooperation,

E.  whereas it is vital not to penalise international adoptions as such but to make sure that they are carried out in a transparent and balanced manner,

F.  whereas Guatemala acknowledges that trafficking is a significant and growing problem in the country, as well as in the region,

G.  stressing the importance of cooperation with neighbouring countries on the issue of trafficking of children and addressing the problem of street children, drug addiction and child prostitution,

H.  whereas some countries have tightened their controls, notably the US, Britain and Canada, which now carry out DNA tests of birth mother and baby to check that the woman giving up the baby is really the biological mother,

I.  whereas adoption in Guatemala is mostly private and mainly in the hands of lawyers,

J.  whereas the problems hindering social development in Guatemala include high crime rates, illiteracy and low levels of education and health,

1.  Condemns any form of child exploitation, trade in human beings and any economic agent profiting from such exploitation;

2.  Underlines the significant efforts made by the Government of Guatemala to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and calls for the prosecution of people involved in the trafficking of children and newborns;

3.  Stresses that adoptions should only be carried out by governmental bodies and non-profit-making organisations;

4.  Stresses that efforts should be increased to rescue minors that are trafficked for sexual exploitation along the border region and also to prevent such minors from being trafficked into other countries;

5.  Urges the advancement and adoption of all national and international rules on this matter;

6.  Calls for the launching of a global plan of priority action aimed at children and adolescents in Latin America, in line with UNICEF measures;

7.  Underlines that two-thirds of the population lives in poverty, that there is no real family-planning, for mainly religious reasons, and that, in addition, Guatemala is only just emerging from a civil war;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, UNICEF, the United Nations and the governments of Central America.