Magnitsky Month

This November, Human Rights First and our partners in the targeted human rights and anti-corruption sanctions coalition launch the first-ever “Magnitsky Month.”

Magnitsky Month honors the legacy of Sergei Magnitsky, who was killed in a Russian prison in November 2009 after exposing corruption by government officials.

The month coincides with the anniversary of his death and precedes the annual International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day (December 9 and 10), when new Magnitsky-style sanctions are typically announced.

We use this time to advocate for the expanded and improved multilateral use of Magnitsky-style sanctions in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the European Union, hold a series of virtual panel events, and release new reports.

While these sanctions have become an important foreign policy tool applied to more than 760 human rights abusers and corrupt actors around the world, gaps have emerged regarding who has evaded sanctions, abuses that have been overlooked, and types of victims who have not been recognized. During Magnitsky month, Human Rights First and our partners will build on our ongoing advocacy to address these gaps.

Magnitsky Month Events

November 15, 10am EST

Human Rights First — in partnership with REDRESS, the Open Society European Policy Institute, and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights — is for the first time releasing a report analyzing the multilateral implementation of Magnitsky sanctions in the U.S., Canada, UK, and the EU.

This panel will highlight key findings from the report, gaps in the use of Magnitsky-style sanctions, and ways in which jurisdictions with Magnitsky-style sanctions can improve multilateral coordination to use these sanctions to their greatest effect.

More on the panelists


November 17, 11am EST

Global Magnitsky sanctions have not generally been used against those involved in human trafficking overseas. Given human trafficking’s connections with other forms of corruption, transnational crime, and corporate supply chains, targeted sanctions seem like a promising tool to counter these criminals.

This panel will explore the possible reasons why sanctions are not being currently used in this way, why human trafficking should be sanctioned as a serious human rights abuse by the U.S. government, and how sanctions can complement other efforts to stop human traffickers and hold them accountable.

More on the panelists

November 28, 11am EST

Magnitsky-style sanctions have rarely if ever been used to specifically address human rights abuses suffered by certain marginalized and vulnerable victims – including women, children, LGBTIQ persons, and indigenous persons.

This panel will discuss the likely drivers of these gaps, and what civil society advocates can do to push for more equitable use of these sanctions tools.

More on the panelists

November 30, 11:00–12:00 pm EST

The U.S. government has used the Global Magnitsky program to target abusive and corrupt actors from a range of countries. Some governments that partner with the U.S. have been omitted, despite their officials’ involvement in sanctionable actions.  This is especially concerning as friendly governments can be more responsive to pressures brought by these tools than adversaries might be.

This panel will discuss implementation of Global Magnitsky that ensures the U.S. government includes its allies when advocating for human rights.

More on the panelists

November 22, 6:00–7:15 am EST
Hosted by Open Society Foundation

Using sanctions to tackle corruption is a relatively novel and promising approach that has not been universally adopted. In the U.S., legislation authorizing corruption sanctions, the Global Magnitsky Act, has been in place for over five years. The EU — which uses sanctions to protect human rights, respond to violations of international law, and preserve peace and security — currently lacks the legislative framework to sanction kleptocrats and acts of serious corruption.

There is a need for consensus around goals for sanctions’ effectiveness, and for measuring how sanctions bring change. This expert panel, led by Open Society Foundation, will discuss the impact of corruption sanctions, presenting case studies that offer lessons that the U.S. experience may hold for the EU.