Russia upper house of parliament backs ban on US adoptions

[JURIST] Russia's upper house of parliament the Council of Federation [official website] by a vote of 143 to 0 backed a bill on Wednesday prohibiting the adoption of Russian children by American parents. The bill called the Yakovlev initiative [Telegraph report] was named for Dima Yakovlev, a US adopted Russian toddler who died in 2008 in Virginia. The White House expressed disapproval over the Yakovlev initiative and issued a statement Tuesday [press release] saying "the US will continue to raise these concerns with the Russian government." The Yakovlev initiative is not limited to US violations. It was amended by the lower house of parliament to be applicable to any nation in violation of Russian rights. President Vladimir Putin is reviewing the bill Wednesday and has the final decision on whether to veto or sign the initiative into a law.

RAPSI, a legal information agency which operates in coordination with Russian courts, reports the Yakovlev initiative was adopted in retaliation [RAPSI report] for the US adoption of the Magnitsky Act [text], which imposes US travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia. The bill was named for Sergei Magnitsky [BBC report], a Russian whistle-blower who was arrested on charges of tax fraud and later died in prison [JURIST report]. The legislation comes just months after Russia and the US entered into an agreement [JURIST report] tightening restrictions on international adoptions.

 

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