Adoption ban: Obama asked to retaliate

2012-12-24 14:07
Barack Obama (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

Barack Obama (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

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Washington - Tens of thousands of petitioners are calling for US President Barack Obama to escalate the diplomatic feud that led Moscow to propose a law barring Americans from adopting Russian children.

Some Russian lawmakers denounced the initiative on Sunday, but a senior member of the Duma, Russia's lower parliamentary chamber, suggested there might still be a way for the measures to be softened.

Two petitions on the White House website are asking for US sanctions against Russian lawmakers who backed a bill that one of the documents says will "jeopardize lives and well-being of thousands of Russian orphans."

Moscow sees the ban on adoptions as retaliation for a US human rights law that allows the seizure of assets from Russian officials implicated in the 2009 death of a Russian lawyer.

Under the US law, those same officials would also be barred from entering the United States. It has been dubbed the Magnitsky Act after Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer who blew the whistle on what he said was a $235m police embezzlement scheme.

More than 40 000 people have signed one of the petitions, saying they are "outraged" by the Russian move.

Russian lawmakers "breached all imaginable boundaries of humanity, responsibility, or common sense and chose to jeopardise lives and well-being of thousands of Russian orphans, some of whom, the ill and the disabled ones, now might not have a chance of survival if the ban on international adoption is to be put in place," the petition continues.

The petitioners urged the Obama administration to "identify those involved in adopting such legislature responsible under the 'Magnitsky Act.'"

A second petition, signed by more than 5 000 people, asks that the Magnitsky Act "be extended to supporters of this law in [the] Russian Duma".

According to White House rules, there will be an official response if the petition reaches 25 000 signatures within 30 days.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  russia
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