Dima Yakovlev Law
|Dima Yakovlev Law|
Standard of the President of the Russia
|Territorial extent||Russian Federation|
The Dima Yakovlev Law (Russian: Закон Димы Яковлева), Dima Yakovlev Bill, Dima Yakovlev Act, anti-Magnitsky law, or Federal law of Russian Federation no. 272-FZ of 2012-12-28 "On Sanctions for Individuals Violating Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms of the Citizens of the Russian Federation" is a law in Russia that defines sanctions against U.S. citizens involved in "violations of the human rights and freedoms of Russian citizens". It creates a list of citizens who are banned from entering Russia, and also allows the government to freeze their assets and investments. The law suspends the activity of politically active non-profit organisations which receive money from American citizens or organisations. It also bans citizens of the United States from adopting children from Russia. The law was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 28 December 2012 and took effect on 1 January 2013. The law is informally named after a Russian orphan adopted by a family from Purcellville, Virginia, who died of heat stroke after being left in a parked car for nine hours. The law is described as a response to the Magnitsky Act in the United States, which places sanctions on Russian officials who were involved in a tax scandal exposed by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky against Russian officials; Magnitsky was later found to have been handcuffed and tortured while in jail.
Voting for the law in Russian Parliament
In the Duma, the bill's first reading saw one vote against (Ilya Ponomarev). The second reading received four votes against (Ilya Ponomarev, Dmitry Gudkov, Valery Zubov, Sergei Petrov - all from the A Just Russia faction), while the third and final reading was opposed by eight members (the previous four plus Andrei Ozerov from A Just Russia, Oleg Smolin and Zhores Alferov from the Communist Party of Russia, Boris Reznik from United Russia).
The United States Department of State said in a press release that it "deeply regrets Russia’s passage of a law ending inter-country adoptions between the United States and Russia". United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said that the law will "link the fate of orphaned children to unrelated political issues."
In the State Duma, the law was informally named after Dima Yakovlev (born Dmitry Yakovlev), a Russian toddler who was adopted by Miles Harrison of Virginia. The child was renamed Chase Harrison while in America. In July 2008, less than three months after he arrived in America, Dima died while he was strapped into his adoptive father's car. He had been left alone for nine hours in the car after his father forgot to take him to daycare service.
Following trial, Harrison was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter by a Circuit Court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, on January 2009. The case became national news in Russia, highlighting abuse cases involving Russian children adopted by American parents. Following the child's death, Russian federal prosecutors opened an investigation into the circumstances of the incident, while Russian authorities called for restriction or ending of the adoption of Russian children by Americans.
The Russian Orthodox Church supports the law. Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said that the orphans adopted by American citizens "won't get a truly Christian upbringing and that means falling away from the Church and from the path to eternal life, in God's kingdom". According to the independent Moscow Times, the ban has grown increasingly popular among the Russian public.
The U.S. media outlets Christian Science Monitor, Fox News, The Daily Beast, Time, and a local Houston, Texas, media affiliate criticised the move. The British newspaper The Guardian commented on the law that it is "not about children's rights" and "ruins lives and leaves both countries looking sordid." Due to the law being signed on the day many Christians[vague] mark as the Massacre of the Innocents, the law has been referred to by the Economist as "Herod’s law" and "cannibalistic".
Amnesty International called the law "in no one's best interest" and have called for Russian parliamentarians to reject the law. Human Rights Watch Europe and Central Asia director Hugh Williamson said that the law "could deprive them (Russian orphans) of the loving families they desperately need."
From 1991 to 2010, over 50,000 Russian orphans had been adopted in the United States; however, according to Time magazine, U.S. adoptions of Russian children had already fallen by two-thirds from 2004 to 2009. At the time of the 2012 ban, over one thousand prospective adoptions were in progress. Among these prospective adoptions were about 200 Russian orphans who had already been told they were to be adopted. In January 2017, the European Court of Human Rights levied a fine on Russia, stating that the ban unlawfully discriminates on the basis of nationality.
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- A law on sanctions for individuals violating fundamental human rights and freedoms of Russian citizens has been signed // Kremlin.ru, December 28, 2012
- Подписан закон о мерах воздействия на лиц, причастных к нарушениям основополагающих прав и свобод человека, прав и свобод граждан России // Kremlin.ru, December 28, 2012 (With full text of Law and short note) (in Russian)
- The Russian adoption ban fits the Putin agenda: The logic of the Dima Yakovlev law is inevitable but short-sighted, FIIA Comment (1)2013, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
- V. The “Dima Yakovlev Law” // Laws of Attrition. Human Rights Watch, 2013. ISBN 978-1-62313-0060
- To the Moon and Back, a 2016 documentary by Susan Morgan Cooper, about the Dima Yakovlev Law.