- Title: RUSSIA: Human Rights Watch criticises ban on U.S. adoptions
- Date: 21st December 2012
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CHILDREN ON MOSCOW STREETS
- Embargoed: 5th January 2013 12:00
- Location: Russian Federation
- Country: Russia
- Topics: International Relations,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA8AQ79JBRT331M23B53J3LS20D
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: International NGO Human Rights Watch criticised a Russian bill banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children that was approved by Russia's lower house of parliament on Friday (December 21).
Russia's lower house of parliament approved the law, which includes an amendment banning Americans from adopting Russian children in retaliation for U.S. human rights legislation which Russian President Vladimir Putin says is poisoning relations.
Rachel Denber, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Watch in Moscow criticised the law.
"It's not surprising that there's political retribution, that there's a political tit for tat, that's not surprising, you know. But what's shocking is that they are using, that they're putting the well being of children at risk for the sake of political retribution. And that has to stop," Denber told Reuters.
"When there are not Russian families to adopt children in Russian orphanages, then the children should be available for the inter country adoption. And by putting a blanket ban on adoptions from the United States, the options for children who are in Russian orphanages become a lot more limited," Denber added.
The law responds to U.S. legislation known as the Magnitsky Act, passed by the U.S. Congress to impose visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials accused of involvement in the death in custody of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
The State Duma overwhelmingly backed a bill which also outlaws U.S.-funded "non-profit organisations that engage in political activity", extending what critics say is a clampdown on Putin's opponents since he returned to the presidency in May.
In Moscow residents seemed to be divided on the adoption ban.
"I even think I would (give) an even harsher (reply) to this Magnitsky bill. There's no need to hide behind children, they should've come up with something more serious. The children were probably just the first thing that came to their minds, they just put all in the same pile," said a pensioner Nadezhda from Moscow.
"Well, I am against that, kids shouldn't be mixed in that. The fact that our officers are banned from entering the U.S. - children have no relation to that - it's their problem and not the kids'," Moscow lawyer Vyacheslav said.
Putin hinted at a news conference on Thursday (December 20) that he would sign the bill into law once the Senate votes on it next week, describing it as an emotional but appropriate response to an unfriendly move by the United States.
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