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US citizens may be banned to adopt Russian orphans in retaliation to the Magnitsky Act

December 18, 2012, 11:18 UTC+3

On Monday, the State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation and State Construction approved the amendments in the so-called Dima Yakovlev bill

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In retaliation to the Magnitsky Act the State Duma has drafted the amendments, which ban the US citizens to be members of the non-governmental organizations, which are engaged in political activities in Russia, and adopt children from Russia. The human rights activists claimed that this ban violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Soviet Union ratified in 1990, but the Kremlin insists that the foresaid measures are needed.

On Monday, the State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation and State Construction approved the amendments in the so-called Dima Yakovlev bill, which became Russia’s response to the Magnitsky Act enacted in the United States, the Vedomosti daily reported. The bill has an effect on the US citizens, who violated the rights of Russians, committed the crimes against Russian citizens or are involved in such crimes. The document envisages the making of a list of the US citizens, who are banned the entry in Russia, and suspends the operation of the legal entities, which are controlled by these US citizens in Russia. In general, the bill is to be debated in the second reading on Wednesday and in the third reading on Friday.

The United Russia faction called the document as “the bill named after Dima Yakovlev”, a two-year-old Russian boy, who died in Virginia after his US adoptive father locked him up in the car in the full blaze of the sun, and in memory about all Russian children, who were killed and were injured by their US adoptive parents. The criminal cases versus Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who were detained by the US security services in the third countries and are serving their sentences in the US prisons, are mentioned among the Russian citizens, whose rights were violated in the US.

An amendment envisages a ban on the adoption of Russian children in the US, the shutdown of the children adoption agencies, as well as the abrogation of the Russian-US agreement on adoption of minors, State Duma deputy, Yekaterina Lakhova, who co-authored the amendments, said. Meanwhile, she noted no additional acts will be needed in case of approval of these amendments for the denunciation of the agreement, because if the bill is enacted, the agreement will be abrogated automatically.

The State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation offered to approve the Russian bill in the second and third readings in retaliation to the Magnitsky Act on December 19, the Kommersant daily reported. On Monday, the bill was supplemented with the amendments drafted by Yekaterina Lakhova and Yelena Afonina. They suggested the US citizens should be forbidden to adopt Russian children, as well the operation of the organizations, which are engaged in the adoption of children, should be halted. In this respect, Russia will have to abrogate the Russian-US agreement on cooperation in the adoption of children that was signed in Washington on July 13, 2011. The newspaper reported that this Russian response can result in an international scandal.

Ilya Ponomarev from A Just Russia stated that this legal act “violates the rights of those people, who did not violate anything.” A Just Russia fellow member Dmitry Gudkov cited the statistical reports from the website that in 2011 most children, who were adopted by foreign citizens, were adopted by US citizens (956 people), and the US broke a record in the number of adopted Russian disabled children.

“For the last 20 years the US adopted 60,000 Russian children, the US Embassy has made public this figure this year. For this period of time the US citizens are to blame for the death of 19 Russian children, while the Russian foster parents are to blame for the death of 1,500 Russian children,” the newspaper quoted Dmitry Gudkov as saying with the reference to the statistical reports of the Ministry of Education and Science.

Education Minister Dmitry Livanov also levied criticism on the bill. In his Twitter blog he replied to TV anchorman Vladimir Solovyev, who wrote that he “does not understand the logic of the ban on children’s adoption in the US.” “It is the eye-for-eye logics, but this logics is wrong, because our children, who did not find adoptive parents in Russia, can be affected,” the minister replied.

Russian presidential children’s rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov is concerned over the current situation, as the agreement on cooperation in children’s adoption was concluded to help those tens of thousands of Russian children, who live in the US foster families, the Komsomolskaya Gazeta daily reported. If this agreement is annulled, it will be difficult to follow the fate of Russian kids in the US. “If the agreement is denunciated, the monitoring over the observance of the rights of Russian children will be possible only through consular channels that can create enormous difficulties,” Astakhov stated.


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