MOSCOW, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Education and Science Ministry has drafted a bill allowing foreigners to adopt Russian children only through agencies accredited in Russia.
"The ministry has drafted the concept of a law to allow foreign residents to adopt Russian children only via foreign adoption organizations accredited in Russia, except in cases when adopters are relatives of the child in question," Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko told the State Duma, the lower chamber of parliament, Wednesday.
Fursenko said earlier that the ministry backed the Prosecutor General's Office's proposal that adoptions via independent foreign agencies should be banned. Prosecutors proposed amendments to the criminal code to ensure punishment for offenses, which are often committed while gathering information about children and providing other mediation services.
Ensuring the rights of adopted children and exercising control over their lives in adoptive families are the issues that should be addressed by governments, Fursenko said. The Hague convention on the protection of children and cooperation in inter-country adoption is one of the helpful tools in this sphere, he added. Fursenko urged ratification of the convention, which Russia signed in 2000.
"The Hague convention sets tough international adoption requirements and allows for mechanisms of inter-state control over adopted children," he said.
The convention does not rule out bilateral treaties on control over adopted children's living conditions, he said, adding that the ministry would begin talks with the foreign ministry on the matter shortly.
As far as the United States is concerned, Fursenko suggested an adoption cooperation agreement be signed with each of the 52 states. "Our American colleagues are also interested in toughening control."
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