India orders all Mother Teresa care homes inspected

An Indian nun, center, with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity hides her face as she sits outside a court under police protection before a hearing on child trafficking charges in Ranchi on July 5. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2018
0

India orders all Mother Teresa care homes inspected

  • Illegal adoption is big business in India, with over 100,000 children reported missing every year, the government says
  • A nun and a worker at one of the Missionaries of Charity order’s homes were arrested over allegations that at least five infants were sold for potentially thousands of dollars

NEW DELHI: India has ordered an immediate inspection of all childcare homes run by a religious order founded by Mother Teresa after a nun was arrested over an alleged adoption racket.
Illegal adoption is big business in India, with over 100,000 children reported missing every year, the government says. Many are given up by desperately poor parents but others are snatched from hospitals and train stations.
Police earlier this month arrested the nun and a worker at one of the Missionaries of Charity order’s homes in Ranchi, the capital of eastern Jharkhand state, over allegations that at least five infants were sold for potentially thousands of dollars.
The scandal blew up after local child welfare authorities informed police about a newborn missing from the home, which is meant to care for unwed pregnant women and mothers in distress.
In a statement late Monday, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said all state governments have been asked “to get child care homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately.”
She also said all childcare institutions should be registered and linked to the central adoption authority within the next month.
In December India’s Supreme Court had ordered mandatory registration of all childcare institutions and bringing orphanages under the central adoption system.
Since then some 2,300 childcare institutions have been linked to the Central Adoption Resource Authority and about 4,000 are still pending, according to the government.
In the aftermath of the adoption scandal, the Missionaries of Charity had said it would carefully look into the Jharkhand case and ensure the incident was never repeated.
The charity was founded in 1946 by Mother Teresa, a global symbol of compassion who was canonized as a saint after her death in 1997.
Headquartered in Kolkata in eastern India, the charity runs several institutions across the country.
Missionaries of Charity was previously involved in providing legal adoption services in India, but in 2015 said it was closing down its adoption centers, citing new regulations that made it easier for single and divorced people to adopt children.


Survivors: Up to 117 migrants missing in capsizing off Libya

Updated 19 January 2019
0

Survivors: Up to 117 migrants missing in capsizing off Libya

  • The migrants came mainly from west Africa
  • The Italian navy said it had alerted Libyan authorities who coordinated rescue operations

MILAN: A rescue official says survivors have told rescuers that up to 117 migrants might have died when a rubber dinghy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya.
Flavio Di Giacomo of International Organization for Migration says three survivors were plucked to safety by an Italian navy helicopter on Friday, and they say 120 were aboard when the dinghy left Libya.

He said the people came mainly from west Africa, adding: “Ten women including a pregnant girl were aboard and two children, one of whom was only two months old.”
The navy says its airplane launched life rafts after it spotted the sinking dinghy Friday with about 20 people aboard. It wasn't immediately clear if some migrants had already fallen off.
The Italian Coast Guard says Libya asked a nearby cargo ship to search for survivors, but no one was found.
The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Libyan authorities as saying a dispatched Libyan coast guard boat turned back after mechanical problems.
According to the IOM, 2,297 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean last year, out of a total of 116,959 people who reached Europe by sea.
Arrivals in the first 16 days of 2019 totalled 4,449, almost all by sea, compared with 2,964 in the same period of 2018.
“As long as European ports will remain open ... sea-traffickers will continue to do business and kill people,” Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said in a Facebook post late on Friday.
Since Italy’s populist government came to power in June, Salvini, leader of the anti-migrant League, has closed Italian ports to humanitarian vessels.