In a case of racial discrimination, an adoption agency in the United Kingdom (UK) asked a British Sikh couple not to apply on the grounds of their “Indian heritage”.
Berkshire-based Sandeep and Reena Mander, who were looking forward to adopting a child in Britain, were advised to instead adopt in India. The couple were told that they were unlikely to be selected as only white children were in need, in which case only white British or European applicants would be considered. The Manders have now sought legal recourse in the matter in the Slough county court.
“Giving an adopted child – no matter what race – the security of a loving home was all we wanted to do. What we didn’t expect was a refusal for us to even apply for adoption, not because of our incapability to adopt, but because our cultural heritage was defined as ‘Indian/Pakistani’,” said Sandeep Mander as quoted in The Hindustan Times.
The case has brought race issues in adoption to the fore. Though the official position is that a child’s ethnicity should not be a barrier to adoption, agencies in the UK are allowed to prioritise on the basis of race to match children with prospective parents having a similar ethnic background.
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) chairman David Isaac has said, “There are many children who are waiting for a loving family like Sandeep and Reena to help give them a better life. To be denied this because of so-called cultural heritage is wrong.”
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