09 Dec, 2020

Renew Europe welcomes the adoption of the EU ‘Magnitsky Act’

The Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament welcomes the adoption of a global human rights sanctions regime on 7 December but regrets that corruption is not amongst the punishable violations. 

The European Parliament has repeatedly asked for a mechanism for sanctions to be introduced to punish individual culprits of human rights atrocities and our political group has been at the forefront of this fight.

The newly adopted procedure entered into force on 8 December and it applies to targeted individuals, entities and bodies responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. They will be subject to restrictive measures such as travel bans and freezing of funds.

Commenting on the Council’s decision, the President of Renew Europe Group, Dacian Cioloș (USR PLUS, Romania), said:

“Over the past years, Renew Europe has repeatedly called for the establishment of a human rights sanctions regime at EU level. I therefore welcome its adoption by the Council today.

From Belarus, to Hong Kong, from Russia to Venezuela, the EU can finally send a decisive and united response to those that attack human rights, freedom and democracy.

We will continue, nevertheless, to try to improve this newly adopted instrument, as  the requirement of unanimity among the EU Member States risks jeopardising the swiftness of the EU’s reaction  when it comes to human rights violations.”

Hilde Vautmans MEP (Open Vld, Belgium), Renew Europe Group’s coordinator in the Foreign Affairs Committee, added:

“The EU will now have an efficient and just mechanism to stand by its words and take practical action against human rights abuses worldwide. Yet, it is a lost opportunity that corruption - which is often intrinsically linked to human rights abuses - is not included among the punishable actions and that unanimity is required to impose sanctions. The fight against human rights abuses should never be vetoed.”

María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos MEP (Ciudadanos, Spain), Renew Europe Group’s coordinator in DROI Subcommittee, concluded:

“Today, following the adoption of a global EU human rights sanctions regime, the European Union strengthens its value-based policy toolbox. It is a step in the right direction, but not as comprehensive as we had previously expected. While it includes sanctions for systematic sexual abuse, human trafficking and gender-based violence, corruption is not included within the criteria to impose sanctions. From now on, we must work towards proper implementation, avoiding vetoes, to be flexible and effective and to work in close cooperation with civil society organisations that fight every day against impunity.”

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