Children’s Rights Watchdog Defends US Adoption Ban

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Children’s Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has sent a report to President Vladimir Putin offering justifications for a bill that would ban US adoptions of Russian children.

“The right of a state to outlaw foreign adoptions is supported by the majority of international acts in this area,” Astakhov wrote in his Twitter account.

“The queue of Russians willing to become foster parents keeps growing, while there are fewer foreigners. The moment of truth has come,” he said. “The important thing is not the response measures but the new Russian reality: believe in yourself, rely on yourself. Support families and not businesses that exploit children.”

The adoption ban, known as the Dima Yakovlev bill, has already been approved by Russia’s lower and upper houses of parliament, and will arrive at the president’s desk on Thursday. Putin, who can either sign the bill into law or veto it, has indicated that he supports the adoption ban.

The bill was named for a 21-month-old Russian child who died of heatstroke in July 2008 when his adoptive US father, Miles Harrison, left him unattended in a hot car for nine hours.

Astakhov also said on Thursday new details have been uncovered during an investigation into the adoption of Dima Yakovlev by the US family, indicating that his Russian grandmother’s signature on various documents was forged.

Astakhov has also asked the head of Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, to launch a probe into the adoptions of all Russian children who subsequently died in the United States.

Russian officials have repeatedly expressed concern about the safety of Russian children adopted by US parents, and they have cited 19 cases in which Russian children have died at the hands of their adoptive American parents.

Critics of the bill say an overwhelming amount of American/Russian adoptions are successful and that child abuse is a pressing issue inside Russia. Several highly placed Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, spoke out against the adoption of the draft law.


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