[QODLink]
Americas

Mexico carers gave children to religious sect

Prosecutors say 12 children under temporary care orders were handed over to group, which then illegally adopted them.

Last updated: 09 Apr 2014 02:26
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A Mexican shelter handed children in its temporary care to a religious sect, which then adopted them through a legally dubious process, Mexican authorities have said.

Prosecutors announced on Tuesday that three more of the children had been found, bringing the total to 12 out of the 15 children who went missing from the Casitas del Sur shelter.

Today, the staffing and the procedures for the care of children in the government's temporary shelters continue to create conditions that make another Casitas del Sur case possible.

Margarita Griesbach, child rights activist and lawyer

The three newly found people showed up last week at prosecutors' offices in Puebla state, near Mexico City, and identified themselves as children taken from the shelter, though two are now adults, according to a federal official.

Like many of the other recovered children, they had been given to members of the evangelical sect, called the Restored Christian Church, through an adoption process of questionable legality. 

Religion expert Bernardo Barranco said the religious sect took advantage of the Mexican government's lack of adequate shelters for at-risk youth by offering its services under the guise of a philanthropic effort.

"The Casitas del Sur were just a facade for an ambitious indoctrination project ... to take children who were defenceless, trusting, blank slates, who would believe everything the sect told them," Barranco said.

The shelter housed children from broken families or whose parents were temporarily unable to care for them.

But by the time some relatives came back for their children, they had disappeared.

Change needed

The shelter was raided by police in 2008 and dozens of children were removed from it, but some remained missing.

Several arrests have been made in the case, but there have been few convictions.

"The authorities bear a lot of the responsibility for all of this" because they sometimes entrusted children to the groups without following proper legal procedure, and without having checked out the shelter enough, said Margarita Griesbach, a child rights activist and lawyer.

"Today, the staffing and the procedures for the care of children in the government's temporary shelters continue to create conditions that make another Casitas del Sur case possible," Griesbach added.

The church had previously denied any involvement in the disappearances.

Prosecutors found the first of the missing children in 2009.

395

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list