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US regret passage of anti-Magnitsky law

28.12.2012 - 19:20

The US Department of State released a statement in relation to the signing into law by the Russian President Vladimir Putin of the bill banning American citizens to adopt Russian children.

The statement said that the United States ‘deeply regret Russia’s passage of a law ending inter-country adoptions between the United States and Russia and restricting Russian civil society organisations that work with American partners.’

It emphasised that American families have adopted more than 60,000 Russian children over the past 20 years and added that the vast majority of them were ‘now thriving thanks to their parents’ loving support.’

The Department of State called the decision of the Russian government ‘politically motivated’ and expressed concern about on-going statements that adoptions already underway may be stopped.

Last but not least, the statement pointed out that the ‘limitations imposed’ by the anti-Magnitsky law (which enters into force in the beginning of 2013) ‘on Russian civil society’s ability to work with American partners will also make it more difficult for Russian and American non-governmental organisations to cooperate in areas such as human rights advocacy, open government and electoral transparency.’

On the other hand, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out shocking discoveries of non-governmental organisations in the United States, according to which one in four international adoptions fails and leads to psychological or physical harm to the child, as well as the alarming ‘practice of child abuse’ in the country. It called the current situation with international adoptions in the States ‘not one of the best’ and concluded by reminding that the US was one of the countries, together with Somalia and South Sudan, which have not yet ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

Many consider the signing of the Dima Yakovlev Act as a countermeasure of the authorities in Moscow to the signing by the US of the ‘Magnitsky Act’, imposing visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials allegedly responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in a Moscow jail in 2009 after accusing officials of tax fraud (this is why called anti-Magnitsky act).  

However, one thing is for sure: this is yet another example of a case which lighted the sparks between Russians and Americans.