Russian lawmakers unanimously approve ban on US adoptions of children

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 27, 2012 08:10 hrs

The upper house of the Russian parliament has unanimously approved a ban on America's adoption of Russian children.

All eyes are now on the Kremlin as the bill goes to President Vladimir Putin for his signature.

The ban was added last week to a broader bill retaliating for human rights sanctions signed by President Barack Obama earlier this month, ABC News reports.

Putin has expressed support for the broader bill, which reciprocates the sanctions, but dodged questions last week about the adoption ban, ABC News reports.

At stake are the cases of 46 Russian children whose adoptions would be frozen if the bill becomes law, according to Russia's children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhav.

He said those children would receive priority to be adopted by Russian families.

According to RIA Novosti, the proposed ban has split Russian society. Outside the parliament at least seven people were detained while protesting the bill.

Human rights advocates have urged Russian authorities not to move forward with the ban, saying it denies Russian orphans a home with a family.

It has also caused a rare division among the Russian government.

Several top officials, including Russia's foreign minister and education minister have come out against the ban.

A leaked memo from another top official suggested its passage would cause Russia to breach several international treaties, including a recently enacted adoption agreement between the United States and Russia, the report said.

Others, like Astakhav, have supported the measure, saying that Russian children should remain in Russia, the report added.

According to the report, Russia is the third most popular place for Americans to adopt children.

According to the State Department, over 45,000 Russian children have been adopted by American families since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russian officials, however, have pointed to the cases of 19 Russian adopted children who have been killed in the United States as evidence of broader mistreatment of Russian children by their adopted parents, the report added.

The adoption ban bill was named after Dima Yakovlev, who died in 2008 after his adoptive father left him in a car in a Washington, D.C., suburb.

The bill also slaps sanctions on Americans accused of abusing Russian children and judges deemed to have provided them with lenient sentences, the report added. (ANI)

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