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14 September 201615:08

Comment by Konstantin Dolgov, Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, on continuing violations of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian children adopted by US citizens

1607-14-98-2016

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We are seriously concerned by the fact that, as we know from information coming from the United States, violations of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian children adopted by US citizens continue unabated.

Unfortunately, many of the requests filed by Russian law enforcement agencies through the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation remain unanswered, which runs counter to the international obligations assumed by the US government, in particular, those set forth in the bilateral Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1999.

So far, neither the US State Department nor the US Department of Justice have provided any information on the progress or results of the investigation into trading in underage Russian citizens through online exchanges.

In accordance with the vicious US judicial practice, foster parents often get away with token sentences or avoid punishment altogether for felonies, such as murder, grievous bodily harm, or cruel and inhuman treatment.

In a recent egregious case, the O'Brien couple were sentenced to a ludicrous 12 months in jail with a probationary period of three years for inflicting grievous bodily harm and cruel treatment on four adopted Russian children.

As is known, Washington continues to shy away from holding bilateral consultations for substantive discussion of a backlog of problems that have piled up through the fault of the United States in the adoption segment of our bilateral relations. In July 2016, the State Department and the US Department of Justice, under a false pretext, again refused to hold special meetings with the Russian interagency delegation.

All these matters were again raised by Russia during the Russian-US consultations on bilateral relations held in Moscow on September 14. Unfortunately, no clear answers were provided.

Despite the extremely unconstructive position of Washington on this pressing humanitarian issue, Russia is willing to cooperate and calls on the US authorities to establish cooperation between the competent authorities based on the 1999 Treaty.

We hope that the United States will finally take specific practical steps to investigate violations of the rights of adopted Russian children, hold the perpetrators accountable and promptly and fully inform Russia about the results of investigations.

We will continue to keep a close eye on this issue.

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