Joint Council Statement on Current Events in Russia

9 04 2010

The Governments of Russia and the United States have reported that a seven-year old Russian child, adopted by a U.S. family, was flown to Russia and abandoned at the Ministry of Education in Moscow. The child, adopted approximately 6-months ago by a Tennessee family, is now under the protection of the Russian government.

As reported, this tragic turn of events is simply incomprehensible and indefensible. Joint Council forcefully advocates for the investigation, arrest and prosecution of all individuals involved in any type of child abuse. Failing to take aggressive action against the individuals involved in abuse only further compromises children’s rights. And when the reaction to abuse is the elimination of a particular service to children (intercountry adoption) instead of prosecuting the perpetrators, children are further victimized and their rights stripped away.

It should be recognized that this tragedy is an isolated incident of abuse and not representative of the more than 100,000 adoptions completed each year by American citizens. Further, we must also note that all children residing in the United States, regardless of their country of birth or adopted status are provided with the same protections and rights.

It is our understanding that these right and protections are being enforced by the appropriate elements of the United States and Russian governments, including the U.S. Dept of State, Tennessee Child Protection, and Law Enforcement. Joint Council fully supports the actions of the Russian and United States governments to ensure the safety of the child and that aggressive action against the individuals involved is taken.

Since news of the incident broke yesterday, Joint Council has been actively involved in the situation and will remain engaged with the Russian and U.S. governments, on the federal and local level, along with adoption professionals and NGO’s in both countries until a positive resolution is made. Further, Joint Council has reached out to our colleagues in Russia with information on the U.S. legal system, expressions of discontent of the actions of the adoptive family, and offers to continue collaborative efforts. Joint Council’s activity with both governments on the situation; investigation, arrest and prosecution of individuals involved; advocacy for the child and other vulnerable children in Russia is our highest priority at this time.

This tragedy demonstrates the need for all of us to work together to ensure that the rights of other children are not violated by the elimination of a particular service, including intercountry adoption, to children and those individuals who abuse children are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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