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  • 19

    Chad 'Orphans' Claim Disputed
    Immigration; Posted on: 2007-11-02 09:48:04 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    "Ninety-one of the children referred to a family environment made up of at least one adult person whom they consider as a parent."

    White Liberals Charged in Adoption Case

    Humanitarian workers have disputed claims by a French charity at the centre of kidnapping allegations that it was seeking to help orphans in Chad by flying them to Europe.

    Seventeen Europeans are being held in Chad after the Zoe's Ark charity was stopped as it tried to fly 103 children from the African country to France.

    Zoe's Ark, which has said on its website that it planned to remove 10,000 children from the region, has denied any wrongdoing and said it was operating under international law.

    But comments by the charity that is was helping orphans from war-torn Darfur have been questioned.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross, Unicef, and the UNHCR, said in a joint statement that most of the "orphaned" children actually appeared to have at least one parent.

    After several days of talks with 21 girls and 81 boys aged between one and 10, the agencies said: "Ninety-one of the children referred to a family environment made up of at least one adult person whom they consider as a parent."

    They also said the interviews "suggest that 85 of them come from villages in the border region between Chad and Sudan, in the area of Adre and Tine".

    Adre and Tine are both in Chad.

    The French foreign ministry has also joined the aid agencies in casting doubt on the claims by Zoe's Ark that the children were from Darfur.


    The concept of family is very different in Africa from the European "nuclear family" norm (which is itself a fairly new concept, becoming standard only after WW2). Children in Africa are often raised collectively, and fosterage is a very common practice. And matrilineal and extended family organization is usual, thanks largely to polygamy. So even if both the parents of a child are dead, such a child is often not "orphaned" in the Western sense. (It is ironic that the politically correct "humanitarians" who planned to bring 10000 such children to France would show such ignorance about basic sociological facts). However, even by strict European standards of parentage the vast bulk of these children appear not to have been orphans. According to reports, parents of the children are coming forward claiming that they had released the children on the understanding that they would be going to school in Abeche, not France, and that the kids would be taught the Koran using French teaching methods.
    News Source: Aljazeera


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