U.S.-Russia bilateral adoption agreement comes into force

The Russian-U.S. agreement on cooperation in inter-country adoptions, which enables Moscow to monitor the life of children adopted by U.S. families, enters into force on Thursday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the agreement in 2011, and both legislatures ratified the document in July 2012.

Russia initiated the signing of the bilateral accord after a number of incidents with Russian children adopted by U.S. citizens. Russian Children's Rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov told the State Duma on Oct. 22 that 19 Russian children had died of abuse in U.S. families.

The last straw was the situation of 8-year-old Artyom Salevyev, who was put on a plane to Russia alone by the U.S. adoptive mother in April 2010. The woman gave the boy a note, which waived her parental rights. Back then Lavrov said that Russia might suspend adoptions of Russian children by U.S. families until the elaboration of a bilateral agreement, which would lay out adoption terms, responsibilities and obligations of U.S. families.

One of the main claims of Russia was that the U.S. authorities denied Russian representatives an access to the adopted children. Besides, the U.S. was not a member of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child of 1989 and the majority of other relevant international documents that provided a broader possibility for monitoring the life of adopted children.

The bilateral accord, which enters into force on Nov. 1, provides this opportunity.

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