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Who we are?

Badael – Alternatives – The Right to origins

It is a non-governmental organization advocating for the right to origins for those who were separated from the care of their biological parents through the “Abandonment” phenomena or through placement into alternative care settings yielding separation from origins.
It is committed to give a voice for those affected by the separation mainly the children and their biological mother.

Objectives

Badael - Alternatives aims at providing alternatives to ensure the right to origins through:

  • Prevention of separation unless it is in the best interest of the child/biological mother
  • Designing new forms of alternative care
    Ensuring that separation processes and placement decision do maintain access to origins
  • Providing technical and legal support for reconnecting with origins.

Strategies

Badael – Alternatives will build partnerships to:

  • Advocate for the right to origins
  • Provide support to mothers at risk of separation from the child through protection and counseling services
  • Give a voice to biological mothers in the decision process in the best interest of the child
  • Reform policies and related executive measures so separation is governed by a civil entity
  • Support persons in search for their origins

The Cause

Separation from the biological families is a worldwide phenomenon yielding to severe violation of child and human rights. Children are said to become invisibles as they lose contact with their origins.

For millions of children, the main cause of their invisibility is a violation of their right to protection resulting from the lack or loss of formal identification; inadequate State protection for children without parental care and the mishandling of the so called unable biologic mothers and the exploitation of children through trafficking.

48 million children is the estimated number of those who were not registered as per the State of the World Children Report 2006 while 55% of births are estimated to slip out of registration every year in the Arab World including Lebanon.
Making children visibles requires establishing a protective environment; hence, every child should be entitled to:

  • a formal identity,
  • inclusion in birth registration,
  • the right to acquire a nationality
  • the right to know and be cared for by the biological parents
  • the right to reconnect with the biological family whenever this is made possible

Lebanon Status-Quo

Unfortunately, Lebanon has witnessed forced separation of children from their biological families resulting from complex factors while the civil war, the discrimination and violence practiced against women, the degradation of the civil government, the absence of civil laws, and the lack of support in accepting realities, and the absence of any organized technical support in the search for origins; All of that have added severe complications which perpetuations are still being lived and witnessed.

Within the absence of real effort to quantify the number of children who are invisible, Lebanon is facing a strong coming back of some of hundreds of persons, born in Lebanon during the war and adopted in families from Switzerland and Netherland, and other ex-patriot countries that might be strongly concerned like Canada, France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, the USA and Australia.

Realizing their realities, the invisibles want to find answers for unshared questions, they need to know the whys and hows, they need to heal the sorrows and reduce the pain, they need to unclose the separation memories left there incarnated in their body and soul. They need to express out their identity and while understanding their individual pathway, they want to be able to give a voice and face to the invisibility and the secret the “mother” had to live through as well during all this years. Their only aspiration and hope is reconnecting with an earth on which they will be able to walk: their origins.

However, reconnecting separated children with the biological families is often complicated by a lack of formal documentation; without birth registration, or worse, with faked names registered, children are invisible in official statistics.

The right to origins is recognized by the extension of the human rights chart including children’s rights. The right to official birth registration and a nationality for “orphans” is ruled by the 1912 Lebanese Decree no 15.

In Lebanon the united nation’s children’ rights, human right and the Lebanese law itself are violated.

Why is the right to know important?

For the person to be able to build a future based on reality: her/his present and a pre-separation past
To understand how and why the person has been separated from her/his biological family
To discover from which socio-cultural background she/he does come from
To verify the biological health
To maintain healthy relations with the alternative care providers and the biological family

The denial of the right to access origins

Leads to the violation of other basic rights and entitlements
Denies personal integrity and legal status
Undermines access to all other rights (nationality, culture, personal data such as     name and birthdate)
Generates irreversible identity crisis
Denies the biological affiliation and the gynecological medical question
Vulnerabelize the separated children
Leads to marginalization and social exclusion
Puts children at risk of human trafficking

International Texts and Conventions prioritizing the search of origins:

The right to be legally registered and have access to personal data is upheld in the 1989 UN Convention on the rights of the child, ART 7 & 8.

The legal relationship between the child and her/his family of origin, the legal consent of authorities, persons and institutions, the illegal compensation arising adoption and the consent of the biological mother are upheld in the 1993 Hague Convention on inter-country adoption, chap. 2.

The 2011 International Reference Centre recognizes the need of origins, identity, and general information on the socio-economic community of the biological family for the Rights of Children Deprived of their Family, ISS, and IRC.