Eight adult adoptees suing Dutch State over fraud with adoption papers
Eight people adopted from Sri Lanka by Dutch parents in the 1980s and 1990s are suing the Dutch State. According to them, there was fraud with their adoption papers, and the State wrongly allowed the adoption.
According to lawyer Mark de Hek, who represents the adoptees, names were visibly changed on passports, and the adoption files contain conflicting dates of birth, places of birth, and names of biological parents. Four of the eight adoptees were told they were part of twins, but DNA tests later showed this was not the case.
“These people still experience the consequences of fraud during their adoption on a daily basis: they do not know who their family is, or they have the wrong name or date of birth,” said De Hek. His clients should never have been adopted in this way because it was clear that the organizations and files involved were suspect. “The government looked away, and the State is, therefore, liable for the consequences.”
The adoptees want the government to acknowledge their suffering and compensate them for their damages. The eight people were all adopted through Stichting Flash, a now-defunct agency associated with adoption abuses several times in the past.
It is not the first time people adopted by Dutch parents are suing the government because of abuses and fraud. In 2019, Sri Lankan-born Dilani Butink took the Dutch State to court because her adoption had been tampered with in the 1990s. After years of litigation, the Court of Appeal in The Hague ruled that the woman should receive compensation. But in October last year, the State appealed in cassation.
In 2021, the Cabinet apologized for the wrongful action by the government in intercountry adoption, following a hard-hitting report from the Joustra Committee on this topic. After investigation, the committee concluded that there had been “structural serious abuses” for decades in intercountry adoptions from Sri Lanka, among others.
The abuses varied from the careless recording of children’s data to child trafficking. The Dutch government was always too passive and did not intervene when things went wrong, the committee ruled.
Reporting by ANP