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    World Tends to Reject Child Adoption by US Citizens – Russian Ombudsman

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    Over the period 2005–2014 there had been no or almost no US adoptions from such countries as Argentina, Cambodia, Moldova, Nepal, Ghana, Rwanda and Vietnam, Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights said.

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — More and more countries around the world are following a trend of banning adoptions by US citizens, Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights Pavel Astakhov told Sputnik.

    The United States has sharply criticized Russia's law prohibiting the adoption of Russian orphans by US parents, which came into power in January 2013. Meanwhile, Russia is not the only country to have taken such measures, although it seems to have been the only country that has provoked such intense public discussion.

    "There is a global tendency that various countries around the world reject US adoptions," Astakhov told Sputnik, commenting on the recent report by the US State Department on international adoptions over the period 2005 – 2014.

    Astakhov noted that in the indicated period there had been no or almost no US adoptions from such countries as Argentina, Cambodia, Moldova, Nepal, Ghana, Rwanda and Vietnam, which have introduced similar bans in recent years.

    The Russian ombudsman continued that a number of Western European states were also cautious about adoptions by US citizens. Moreover, the absolute majority of Eastern European countries are not among those from which US citizens adopted orphans.

    "You will not find Montenegro or Romania, for example. But is the social situation and situation with orphans in these countries better, than in Russia?" Astakhov said.

    In general, the number of foreign orphans adopted by US citizens in 2014 is four times less than it was in 2005, the report by the State Department showed.

    The commissioner for children's rights added that the United States still was coming out top in terms of the number of crimes against children, and as many as nine percent of these crimes involve sexual abuse.

    "It is a serious problem for the United States indeed. US attorneys, the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation speak openly about it themselves," Astakhov claimed.

    Moreover, the ombudsman rejected the stereotype that US citizens usually adopt waifs and strays and disabled who desperately need help.

    "There has always been a stereotype that Americans adopt those that are in pitiful circumstances. That is not true. Look at the year 2010 –1181 disabled orphans found homes in Russian families, and only 44 we adopted by American citizens… Also in 2013, when Americans adopted only 3 disabled orphans, Russian families took as many as 1465," Astakhov said,

    The commissioner called this situation "very unfair" in relation to Russian families for whom it is much more difficult to raise such children than for families in the United States or Europe.

    The law banning adoptions of Russian children by US citizens was signed in December 2012 and came into force in January 2013. It also marked the withdrawal of Moscow from the US-Russian agreement on cooperation in child adoptions that was concluded in 2011.

    The measure is also known as the Dima Yakovlev Law, named after a Russian toddler who died in the United States in 2008 after being locked in a car by his adoptive father, US citizen Miles Harrison.

    The United States unilaterally refuses to cooperate with Moscow and provide information about Russian children adopted by US parents, which is disrespectful to the country and its court system, Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights Pavel Astakhov told Sputnik.

    "Currently, the United States unilaterally refuses to cooperate with us. They have explained that they have withdrawn from cooperation, because Russia adopted the law [prohibiting US adoptions]," Astakhov told Sputnik.

    However, the US parents who adopted Russian children before the law were obliged to provide reports to Russian regional courts, and each court ruling has it stated within it, Astakhov continued.

    "Now they are refusing. They do not respect our laws, our courts or our country," the Russian ombudsman added.

    Astakhov said he will hold talks with the US State Department in June, raising all the issues.

    "We will not give up. Our claims are legal. We have the right to have access to [the adopted] children," the commissioner stated.

    The measure is also known as the Dima Yakovlev Law, named after a Russian toddler who died in the United States in 2008 after being locked in a car by his adoptive father, US citizen Miles Harrison.

    US adoption agencies continued to work in Russia throughout 2013, profiting from orphans in the country despite a ban on US adoptions, Russian Commissioner for Children's Rights Pavel Astakhov told Sputnik.

    In 2014, the total number declined sharply and stood at only 11 children.

    "The difference between 2013 and 2014 is dramatic. It is because up until January 1, 2014, there were US adoption agencies present and working in Russia. After they disappeared in 2014, there have been only 11 adoptions. But throughout 2013 they continued operating in the country and had orders," Astakhov told Sputnik.

    As for 262 Russian children that were adopted by US parents in 2013 and 2014, Astakhov explained that 25 orphans left the country, after having been granted leave by a court before the ban was introduced. However, the details of all the other cases are still to be clarified.

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