St. Petersburg orphans might leave for U.S. under European Court of Human Rights ruling

The St. Petersburg orphans whom U.S. citizens were going to adopt before the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens was banned can leave for the U.S. if the European Court of Human Rights issues an appropriate decision.

The St. Petersburg orphans whom U.S. citizens were going to adopt before the adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens was banned can leave for the U.S. if the European Court of Human Rights issues an appropriate decision, Alexander Rzhanenkov, chairman of the city committee on social policy, said.

"Russia has signed an appropriate convention, and if a U.S. parent wins a lawsuit we will be required to fulfill the ruling. However, I do not know of any such situations. In addition, political forces and public bodies may always intervene by filing an appeal. However, we would be willing to fulfill such a court ruling and let the children go," Rzhanenkov said.

Rzhanenkov said no people have yet expressed a wish to adopt any of the 33 children for whom adoptive parents were earlier found in the U.S.

"Under the current legislation, we will put these children up for foreign adoption only when we have three rejections from Russian citizens," he said.

A total of 499 orphans were adopted or placed in foster families in St. Petersburg in the first half of 2012, he said. A total of 110 children were returned to orphanages in 2012. A total of 1,563 parents were deprived of their parental rights in 2012. A total of 2,725 children, of which 13 percent are children of migrants, remain without parental care in St. Petersburg.

According to earlier reports, 33 children from St. Petersburg orphanages, including 12 children with disabilities, had met with their prospective foreign adoptive parents before the adoption of the Dima Yakovlev law. The authorities could not decide whether those children could leave for the U.S. or not, and the office of the children's rights ombudsman sent an inquiry to the Russian Education Ministry, which said the children cannot leave for the U.S.

St. Petersburg children's rights ombudsman Svetlana Agapitova said three potential adoptive parents have filed lawsuits with the Strasbourg court.

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