Human Rights Commissioner states that new Russian adoption law mainly punishes orphans

21.06.2013 - Press release

On 21 June, Russia’s lower House of Parliament, the State Duma, passed the third reading of a bill banning the adoption of orphans by foreign gay couples and individuals from countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement on the subject today (21 June):

“There are hundreds of thousands of orphans living in Russian children’s homes, partly in extremely adverse conditions. For many of these children adoption would pave the way to a life in dignity. The new law will thwart many adoptions and will thus primarily punish the orphans themselves.

Moreover, this law will increase the degree of homophobia already existing among the Russian population while distracting from the core problem; the state’s prime concern should be to alleviate the plight of orphans. The way a state deals with its orphans is always a yardstick by which its social and political development can be measured. I urge the second Chamber of Parliament and the President of the Russian Federation to reject this ban on adoptions and to do more to noticeably improve the quality of life of Russian orphans.”

In December 2012, the Russian Federation adopted a law banning the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.

With its bill of 21 June, the Duma is continuing along the path embarked upon with a law banning “propagating non-traditional sexual relations” which was passed on 11 June and made it a punishable offence to present homosexual partnerships as being on a par with heterosexual ones. The Federal Government sharply criticized the law.

Both bills still need to be confirmed by the Council of the Federation (upper House) before they can be signed into law by the President of the Russian Federation.

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