BALTIMORE — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, yesterday evening addressed the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs about the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act and the importance of promoting human rights around the world. The title of the Senator’s speech was: Magnitsky: Reaffirming America’s Leadership on Human Rights.
The Magnitsky bill, which was introduced by Senator Cardin in 2011, was enacted into law in December. The law prohibits gross violators of human rights in Russia — who have been identified as being involved in the death of Sergei Magnitisky while he was in prison — from traveling to the United States and from using our financial system. This legislation serves to show the rest of the world that the United States stands firmly for democracy, civil rights and free speech.
“The United States has always been a world leader in promoting human rights. We did it with the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which opened up emigration for Jews from Russian during the Cold War and we have done it again with the passage of the Magnitsky bill,” said Senator Cardin.
“The Magnitsky case is emblematic of the everyday human cost of the rampant corruption, violence, and lawlessness throughout the Russian government
Enacting this bill was a bipartisan effort, and it sends a clear warning to nations of the world that even if your home country looks the other way as you violate human rights and trample the rule of law, the United States will not stand by as an unwitting accomplice to your crimes. I am proud that we have taken such a strong stand for human right and I believe it will be heard by other countries.
“I do not believe this bill is anti-Russia, but it does send a clear message to the world that sanctions will be imposed on individuals who have committed serious human-rights violations.”
The Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs was founded in 1980 and is dedicated to educating citizens about foreign affairs.