Tougher response to U.S. Magnitsky Act will harm Russians - Russia's human rights activist

Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva has advised against mixing issues surrounding adoption of Russian children by foreign citizens with politics.

"These measures are certainly strange. One should not mix poor Dima Yakovlev's name with politics," she said commenting on a recently proposed amendment to the so-called Dima Yakovlev law. The amendment suggests suspending the operations of NGOs that are engaged in politics and receive money from the United States.

"It is not clear who they are doing more harm to. We have found ourselves in an extremely dire situation following the passage of the law on NGOs [non-governmental organizations]," she added. "It is certainly another stage of tightening the screws. It is the only thing they are doing in our country. It concerns both the law on NGOs, the law on homophobia and his amendment."

The planned measures are not symmetrical and would primarily hurt Russian interests, she said.

"This measure would be symmetrical if it barred entry into Russia for those who violate human rights in the U.S. and froze their accounts at Sberbank," she said. "But our officials decided to do everything differently for some reason. They are using the name of the poor child to make it more difficult for Americans to adopt Russian children, most of whom suffer from different ailments that their American parents subsequently treat. Thus, we deny these children the opportunities and the future American families could give them."

The State Duma Constitutional Legislation Committee decided earlier to recommend that the chamber adopt a bill retaliating against the U.S. Magnitsky Act in the second reading on Dec. 19.

The committee also supported amendments that ban all adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens.

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