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Russia’s ban on US adoptions not subject to appeal - children rights ombudsman

June 27, 2013, 6:10 UTC+3

According to Asktakhov, the sides agreed not to raise issues of making any exclusions from the Dima Yakovlev law

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WASHINGTON, June 27 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Dima Yakovlev law is not subject to any appeal from the part of the United States, Pavel Astakhov, Russian children rights’ ombudsman, and Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry’s human rights envoy, told journalists on Thursday summing up the results of their working visit to the United States.

“Sometimes, we heard here rather biting, if not to say, ‘terminological,’ pronouncements in our respect,” Dolgov said. “We parried these assessments rather resolutely. We demonstrated that our laws are based on international practice and violate no Russian international liabilities, and that the majority of Russian society has absolutely no problems. We strongly recommended our American colleagues to respect Russia’s sovereign right to adopt such laws that are needed by the Russian people.”

“We assured the U.S. side that our ban on American adoptions was in no way politically motivated and that taking this decision we proceeded from our striving to ensure children’s right to live in their own country, to have a caring family in their homeland, in Russia,” Astakhov said. “This is a responsibility of the state and it will be unconditionally fulfilled… The law has been passed, it will not be changed, neither will it be revoked.”

According to Asktakhov, the sides agreed not to raise issues of making any exclusions from the Dima Yakovlev law. It is applicable to the list of 259 children the U.S. Department of State handed over to Russia in June as an official note. As many as 116 children from this list, in his words, have already found their new families in Russia. And such pretexts that the kids had already “grown attached” to their potential American parents are groundless because many of these parents had never seen their would-be adopted children and because the bulk of the children on the list are kids born in 2011 and 2012.

Astakhov also said that as many as 18,000 people in Russia are on a waiting list to adopt a child. “We believe that this list will be expanded. And should Russian adoptions keep to the current rates, the problem will be solved in seven to ten years.”

The Russian representatives stressed that the key result of their visit to the United States is the fact that the U.S. Department of State had confirmed its commitment to be a key coordinating and regulating body in issues concerning the fate of adopted Russian children. This function, according to Dolgov, will stay in place even after the cancelled bilateral agreement on adoptions becomes completely void. At the same time, he admitted that the U.S. colleagues are demonstrating certain aloofness and expressed the hope the “public control” from non-government organizations, including associations of Russian compatriots in the United States, will have a say in that matter.

In Russia, the problem is tackled at the highest political level, they stressed. In their words, they had informed of that their American counterparts, who represented the U.S. Department of Stat and other government agencies.

Astakhov and Dolgov said that their immediate task is to check databases on Russian children adopted in the United States. So far, the information available to the sides differs greatly. Americans say they had issued more than 61,000 relevant visas since 1992. But only about 37,500 children are registered with Russian consular services. Meanwhile, the Russian ministry of educations and science says more than 49,000 Russian kind have left for the United States.

They found it hard to say when these databases could be verified. Russian proposals are practically ready, but the U.S. side “although demonstrates readiness has no idea how it would be done from the technical point of view,” Astakhov explained.

Further dialogue on the matter will proceed at the working level and in a monthly regime. A relevant U.S. delegation is expected come to Russia in the autumn.

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