MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and the United States have agreed in principle to establish a bilateral working group to monitor the way adopted children from Russia are treated in American families, Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said on Twitter Wednesday.
“The working group will gather twice a year in turn in the United States and Russia,” Astakhov tweeted. “It will consider both urgent problems and investigations and systemic current issues.”
From the start of 2013, Russia enacted a ban on Americans adopting Russian children, in part due to concerns about previous deaths of adopted Russian children. Americans have adopted an estimated 60,000 Russian orphans over the last 20 years, and at least 20 of those children have died.
The adoption ban has caused outcry from critics both at home and abroad.
The ban was part of Russian legislation passed shortly after Washington adopted the so-called Magnitsky Act, which introduced sanctions against Russian officials the United States suspects of having violated human rights. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said the Magnitsky Act had triggered the adoption ban.