EU Council paralysis over situation in Belarus demonstrates urgent need for EU Magnitsky act

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

As the human rights situation in Belarus has continued to deteriorate, efforts by the European Union to impose sanctions on Belarussian officials have stalled due to a failure to meet unanimity within the EU Council (i.e. the Union’s body comprised of heads of member States that is responsible for making unanimous decisions on its Common Foreign and Security Policy). This …

Rapid expansion of ‘Magnitsky-style’ human rights sanctions regimes underlines need for international coordination and norms

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Although July and August are traditionally ‘slow’ months for both governments and the UN, this year they have coincided with an explosion of interest in, and movement towards, so-called ‘Magnitsky-style’ sanction regimes – geared towards holding those guilty of serious human rights violations to individual account. First out the block in early July was the UK, which on 6 July …

The UK’s new targeted sanctions regime ‘a powerful new tool with which to uphold and protect human rights’

by H.E. Rita French, International Ambassador for Human Rights of the United Kingdom Blog, Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 6 July, the UK launched a new ‘Magnitsky-style’ Global Human Rights (GHR) Sanctions Regime. The regime will be a powerful new tool to hold those involved in serious human rights violations and abuses to account. This marks the beginning of a new era for sanctions policy and will change the paradigm in which the UK engages on human rights. …

New UK Magnitsky-style human rights sanction regime ‘an important step forward for accountability’

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, In focus: democracy

Last Monday (6 July 2020), the UK became the latest country to join the growing ‘ Magnitsky momentum ’ by passing the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations , allowing the Government to sanction alleged perpetrators of the gravest forms of human rights violations. Introducing the Regulations in Parliament, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said : “Today this Government and this House sends a very clear message on …

Towards a new accountability? EU adds to growing momentum behind ‘Magnitsky acts’

by Louis Mason, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

On 9th December, the day before International Human Rights Day, EU foreign ministers took the historic decision to begin work on an EU-wide ‘Magnitsky act.’ The decision came just over a year after the Dutch Foreign Minister, Stef Blok, gave a landmark speech to his European counterparts in which he drew attention to the crucial importance of accountability for serious human …

SDGs

UN human rights mechanisms proving effective SDGs monitor

by Steven L. B. Jensen, Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights Blog, Blog, By invitation

The SDGs are mostly aligned with human rights objectives — to emphasise this, the UN human rights mechanisms are showing a willingness to hold states accountable to their SDG commitments. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are renewing the debate on the relationship between human rights and development. In 2005, Philip Alston famously described the relationship between the Millennium Development Goals …

Magnitsky acts and the future of accountability for violations of international human rights law: An interview with Bill Browder

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group and the URG team Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Since the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail cell in 2009, US financier turned anti-corruption activist Bill Browder has led an almost one man crusade to strengthen national legal frameworks and responses to alleged gross violations of human rights and/or cases of grand corruption (which are linked to serious human rights violations ). Over the intervening ten years, Mr Browder’s determination and …

ICC States Parties give hope to supporters of humanitarian intervention and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’

by Jorge Crespo García, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog

On 17 July 2018, the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the ‘crime of aggression’ – its fourth ‘core’ crime – was formally activated . This followed the historic decision of States Parties to the Rome Statute on 15 December last year to adopt a resolution amending the instrument. Although States Parties ultimately decided, when adopting the resolution, that the Court’s jurisdiction (in …

The future of human rights accountability edges closer: Magnitsky laws move to centre stage in the US and Europe

by Marc Limon, Executive Director of the Universal Rights Group and Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Beyond the Council, Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

The extrajudicial killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, and the international reaction thereto, could well represent a defining moment in the evolution of systems of international accountability for serious human rights violations. In particular, the US response to the killing is being shaped (or, from the perspective of President Trump, perhaps dictated) …

The death of Jamal Khashoggi and the growing prominence of global ‘Magnitsky’ laws as a means of securing accountability

by Ben Greenacre, Universal Rights Group Blog, Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

What do the Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have in common? Both victims of shocking human rights violations, including torture and, ultimately, extrajudicial killing, their cases have helped to catalyse an important new trend in how the international community addresses serious infractions of international human rights law. In particular, both killings are closely associated …