Human Rights First Urges Canada, U.K., to Join Global Magnitsky Sanctions Against Chinese Officials Responsible for Violating the Rights of Uyghurs

WASHINGTON – Human Rights First today led 70 other human rights organizations in announcing a joint letter calling on the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom to join the United States in sanctioning senior Chinese leaders and entities responsible for egregious human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples in China.

The letter calls on the British and Canadian governments to use their respective targeted human rights sanctions programs to mirror recent actions undertaken by the U.S. government under the Global Magnitsky Act and Executive Order 13818. It also urges the three governments to strengthen coordination concerning their “Magnitsky-like” human rights sanctions programs and to prioritize multilateralization of targeted human rights and anti-corruption sanctions more broadly.

In part, the letter reads:

The US government’s recent sanctions designations of Uyghur Region Chinese Communist Party (CCP) secretary Chen Quanguo, other senior CCP officials, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB), and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) reflect actions long called for by the Uyghur activist community and many human rights organizations. These designations mark a significant step forward in terms of holding accountable the perpetrators of atrocities against the Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples.

We note, however, that the impact and perceived legitimacy of such sanctions will be bolstered if coordinated and implemented in conjunction with the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada. We encourage your governments to prioritize multilateralization of targeted human rights and anti-corruption sanctions, which among other benefits will have the manifest impact of expanding the reach of travel restrictions and asset freezes. This, in turn, will increase the costs for each sanctioned individual and entity to continue committing human rights abuses or acts of corruption, in the Uyghur Region or elsewhere, and serve as a more effective deterrent.

For over three years, Human Rights First has organized a global coalition of human rights and anti-corruption NGOs that have worked together to bring credible information to the attention of the U.S. and other governments on potential sanctions designees under the Global Magnitsky Act and other U.S. sanctions programs.

In July, Human Right First joined Freedom House, the Sentry, and 21 other NGOs in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin urging the U.S. government to utilize the Global Magnitsky sanctions program to counter efforts by authoritarian regimes and malign actors to exploit and profit from the COVID-19 pandemic.


Published on September 19, 2022


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