To the President of the French Republic François Hollande

9 January 2013


By Boris Altshuler, director of the human rights organization, Right of the Child

Source: Echo of Moscow 

To the President of the French Republic, François Hollande.

Dear Mr President,

I request that you speak out in defence of the Russian orphans who, since 1st January 2013, have been refused permission to be reunited with the Americans who are to adopt them.

I also ask you to examine the possibility of placing restrictions on the right of entry into France of Russia’s Presidential Ombudsman for Children’s Rights, Pavel Astakhov, and of other representatives of the authorities of the Russian Federation who are implicated in this matter.

Pavel Astakhov actively supported the legislation known as the “Dima Yakovlev law,” and because of this law five year olds Polina S. and Marat Z. suffering from cerebral palsy, children with Down’s Syndrome Vitali T. (age 4), Varvara L. (age 2), Albina D. (age 4), Dmitri M (age 3) and Sofia M. (age3), Anastasia H. (age 4) who is infected with HIV, Maria S. (age 3) who is suffering from a spinal fluid rupture, and many other orphans who American citizens wanted to adopt and medically treat, will remain in Russian children’s homes with all the resulting tragic consequences for the children.

At the same time, Pavel Astakhov regularly visits his own family who live in a luxurious villa on the French Riviera in Cannes.

In my opinion, this is unjust. The cynicism of many Russian officials and delegates of both houses of the Federal Assembly is limitless, but civilized countries have a right to close their borders to these people. 

I ask you to ask the President of the Russian Federation for a display of basic humanism in relation to Russian children.

I also ask you to look into the possibility of cancelling Mr Astakhov’s Shengen visa – in any case, until he leaves the post he is now in and thereby frees Russian children from the inhumane “care” with which he treats them.

Yours sincerely, 

Boris Altshuler
Head of the board of the NGO “Right of the child” 
Member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation 
Member of the Moscow Helsinki Group
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