The EU is adopting a new instrument to punish human rights violations. The model is an American system that recently allowed punitive measures, including the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Brussels (dpa) – Human rights violations in countries like China, Russia or Saudi Arabia will be much easier to punish the European Union in the future.
Member States representatives agreed on a corresponding regulation in Brussels on Wednesday evening, as confirmed by EU diplomats from the German news agency. This has been negotiated in recent weeks under the current German presidency of the EU Council and will be officially decided next Monday at a meeting of the foreign ministers.
The new regime will make it possible to freeze the assets of actors who commit or take advantage of serious human rights violations. In addition, entry bans must be imposed on people.
Human rights violations could so far only be sanctioned in connection with sanctions against states or in the context of special sanction regimes set up by the EU, for example in the fight against cyber attacks and the use of chemical weapons.
This has so far made it difficult or impossible for the EU to respond to human rights violations – for example, in the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
The model for the planned EU system is the so-called Global Magnitsky Act of the US. This was decided by the US Congress in 2016 to impose sanctions on those responsible for the death of Russian lawyer and auditor Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky died on remand in a Russian prison in 2009 after being assaulted and receiving inadequate medical care.
The EU made no proposals to name the planned EU sanctions mechanism after the recently poisoned Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny. Due to the attack on the opposition politician, the EU states had already imposed an entry and property ban on people suspected of being responsible in the vicinity of President Vladimir Putin through the chemical weapons regime.