MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) – Members of the State Duma Committee for Constitutional Legislation and Nation Building may consider a petition against the US adoption ban on January 14, committee chief said on Wednesday.
The online petition launched by the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta was signed by more than 100,000 people.
“The State Duma speaker requested us to announce our stance on this document. We will most likely hold the first committee meeting [of the spring session] on January 14,” committee chairman Vladimir Pligin said.
He added that this is the first such precedent in the political history of Russia and the State Duma has no rules of procedure for considering online petitions.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on Wednesday urged “priority attention” to Russian children in currently in care institutions and said international adoption was an important alternative to institutionalization of children.
“Alternatives to the institutionalization of children are essential, including permanent foster care, domestic adoption and inter-country adoption,” Lake said in a statement.
Russia’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday unanimously voted in favor of the bill to ban adoptions of Russian children by US parents, which is part of Russia’s legal retaliation to the US Magnitsky Act. The newly minted US law denies visas to Russian officials deemed by Washington to be complicit in human rights abuses and freezes their US assets.
The legislation was overwhelmingly approved in its third and final reading by the lower house, the State Duma, last week. It will become a law after being signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president defended the bill in heated remarks at a recent press conference, but avoided saying whether or not he would sign it into law.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied on Wednesday US allegations that the law would be in violation of the 1989 UN convention on child rights.
The Kremlin rights council, an advisory body, also criticized the adoption bill in a statement on Tuesday, saying it violated the Russian Constitution and the country’s international obligations and was ridden with “legislative flaws.”
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Education Minister Dmitry Livanov and Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets have spoken against the bill.