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EU Adopts its Own ‘Magnitsky’ Act to Sanction Human Rights Abuses

The European Union has agreed to enact a measure similar to the Magnitsky Act in America that will allow the 27 member bloc to sanction those responsible for human rights abuses.

The decision came at a meeting of the European foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday and will allow the EU to freeze assets and impose travel bans on individuals involved in serious human rights abuses.

The new framework is modeled after the Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law named for investor and activist Bill Browder’s late attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian jail after uncovering a massive fraud scheme allegedly involving government officials.

The EU said in a statement that the move allows the bloc “to target individuals, entities and bodies — including state and non-state actors — responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred.”

Concretely, the 27 EU nations could ban targeted people from traveling in Europe and freeze the assets of both officials and “entities” such organizations, companies or banks. Europeans will also be forbidden from making funds available to them.

The sanctions would apply to acts like genocide, crimes against humanity, serious human rights violations or to abuses such as torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, and arbitrary arrests. Other violations can be punished if they are “widespread, systematic or are otherwise of serious concern.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, December 7, 2020