Ethiopia's lawmakers approve ban on foreign adoptions

Ethiopia - homeland of Angelina Jolie's daughter Zahara - bans foreigners from adopting children 'to protect them from abuse' after girl was starved to death by US couple

Ethiopia has banned the adoption of Ethiopian children by foreign families over concern that they face abuse.

Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter Zahara from Ethiopia in 2005.

The east African country is one of the main sources for adoptions by United States citizens.

One of the most famous people to adopt a child from the poor East African nation was US actress Angelina Jolie, who adopted her daughter Zahara in 2005.

However, there has been a fierce debate about Ethiopian adoptions since Hana Williams, an adopted 13-year-old Ethiopian girl, died of hypothermia in the USA state of Washington in May 2011.

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Global adoptions from Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa have been long-running but they seem to have gained popularity as major celebrities, including Hollywood and stars Mary-Louise Parker, Angelina Jolie and pop veteran Madonna adopted African children.

Lawmakers said that it was introduced to shield Ethiopian children from abuse and neglect.

A U.S. couple was convicted in 2013, in the death of their 13-year-old daughter, whom they adopted from Ethiopia. The couple was found to have beaten and starved the girl, who they had adopted in 2008.

Ethiopia has legislated to ban the adoption of children by foreigners, as reported by the BBC. Department officials have suggested the numbers could rise if the USA adoption community helped to address some countries' concerns about ethics and oversight. Denmark's social and interior minister Karen Elleman said that her government did not "have the confidence" that Ethiopian adoptions "live up to the requirements we have in regards to the adoption process".

Some Mps, however, raised concerns over insufficient services and resources to cater for such children.

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