Russian parliament endorses US adoption ban

Country’s upper chamber has approved a contentious bill that bans US adoptions, despite criticism.

The upper chamber of Russia’s parliament has unanimously voted in favour of a measure banning US citizens from adopting Russian children. 

All 143 members of the Federation Council upper chamber present voted in favour of the bill leaving it to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

Putin said on Thursday that he intended to sign the bill that has raised tensions between Moscow and Washington.

“I don’t yet see any reason why I should not sign it,” Putin told a meeting of top officials in the Kremlin. “I intend not only to sign the law… but also a presidential decree on changing the way orphans are supported.” 

The US State Department said it regretted the Russian parliament’s decision which is widely regarded as part of a larger legislation by Putin-allied lawmakers in retaliation to a recent US law that calls for sanctions on some Russians accused for human rights violations. 

“Since 1992, American families have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into their homes, providing them with an opportunity to grow up in a family environment,” said Patrick Ventrell, US State Department spokesman, on Wednesday. 

“It is misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations,” he added. 

The Federation Council upper chamber, which comprises of Putin allies and ruling party members, was expected to approve the measure after the bill was backed in a committee meeting on Tuesday.

“This will not lead to any infringement of international rights,” Dmitry Pesko, Kremlin spokesperson, said on Tuesday.

“Russia is fully implementing the rights it has under international law,” he added.

Several protesters were arrested outside the Russian parliament on Wednesday, and online petitions urge Kremlin to scrap the bill. 

However, Russian legislators argue that they would be protecting children and encouraging adoptions within the country by banning adoptions to the US. 

The Federation Council upper chamber, comprises of Putin allies and ruling party members, and is expected to approve the measure after it was backed in a committee meeting on Tuesday.

The contentious bill has received condemnation from cabinet members including Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister and Mikhail Fedotov, head of the president’s human rights council.

“The entry of this bill into law in its present form… could lead to negative consequences for the Russian legal system and in other areas,” said a statement from the council.

If signed into law by the president, the measure would put an end to 46 pending adoptions. Last year, almost 1000 Russian babies were adopted by American parents.

Source: News Agencies

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