Two years ago, a university report revealed that Swiss couples adopted 881 children from Sri Lanka up until the 1990s. Mediated by child traffickers who took their children away from mothers and operated so-called “baby farms” where children were systematically fathered and birth certificates forged. The Swiss authorities knew everything and looked the other way.
Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter (58) expressed her regret at the time and promised that the federal government and the cantons would support those affected in their search for origin. Now she has explained to the media what this should look like: the federal government and the cantons are financing a three-year pilot project for the organization Back to the Roots (BttR) for those affected. With a maximum of 250,000 francs.
Keller-Sutter spoke about the misconduct of the authorities, which “caused a lot of suffering to those affected that can no longer be reversed,” as she said two years ago.
Fredy Fässler (63), President of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors, added: “We have a responsibility to help.”
BttR President Sarah Ineichen (41) is satisfied: “We are glad that the authorities are willing to take responsibility and support adopted people from Sri Lanka in what they need.” She founded the association four years ago together with other affected people. He helps adoptees find their biological parents in Sri Lanka. Until recently at his own expense.
Finding the birth parents is difficult
The pilot project is divided into several phases. First, discussions take place between BttR and the adoptees to see what they need. The organization then helps them organize their adoption dossier. With this, people in Sri Lanka check to what extent the information on the birth certificate is correct and look for the parents. If they find the mother, she is offered a DNA test – which BttR will continue to pay for itself in the future.
The search is difficult. The vast majority of birth certificates are forged, and the names of the mothers, for example, are often incorrect. Of the 250 adoptees who contacted BttR, only twelve found at least one parent in Sri Lanka. Sarah Ineichen says: “Most adopted people will not find their parents.” The aim of the project is therefore: The adoptees should learn through the project to regain responsibility for their adoption history and to be able to live well with the difficult history.
Sri Lanka: Illegal Adoptions