Human Rights First Welcomes EU’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, Urges Meaningful Implementation

NEW YORKHuman Rights First today applauded the European Union’s launch of a global, targeted sanctions regime able to hold individuals and entities accountable for serious human rights violations while urging meaningful use of the new tool.

Since 2017, Human Rights First has coordinated the efforts of over 200 non-governmental organizations that provide information and recommendations to the U.S. and foreign governments under the Global Magnitsky Act and similar targeted human rights and anti-corruption sanctions programs. Its experts have advised EU bodies and member states for over two years on how to design a robust human rights-based targeted sanctions program.

Rob Berschinski, Human Rights First’s Senior Vice President for Policy said:

Today’s announcement of an EU human rights sanctions regime is an important achievement, and a credit to the many activists, politicians, and civil servants who made it a reality. Now the real test comes. Human rights violators credibly shown to have murdered, tortured, and arbitrarily jailed their citizens should not have the ability to vacation and park their assets in Europe. The EU’s member states should follow today’s announcement with swift, meaningful sanctions designations against foreign government officials deemed responsible for some of the world’s worst crimes.

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Human Rights First’s Senior Advisor for Human Rights Accountability said:

The enactment of the EU Magnitsky Act is a momentous victory for accountability and justice. For far too long, countries that pride themselves on their domestic adherence to human rights and the rule of law have welcomed foreign crooks and abusers on their soil and in their financial systems, thus enabling their malignant behavior at home. With this new sanctions mechanism, the European Union is sending a clear message that values will no longer be checked in at the border.

In enacting a global human rights sanctions regime similar to the Global Magnitsky Act, the EU joins the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia in establishing a means to deny human rights violators access to the international financial system and to restrict their international travel.


Published on December 7, 2020


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