WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chair of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, issued the following remarks Thursday after the Senate unanimously approved, by a 100-0 roll call vote, the permanent reauthorization of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act (GloMag). Authored by Cardin, the 6-year-old law gives the United States the power to deny entry to the United States and to seize property of individuals worldwide who commit gross violations of human rights, and those who commit acts of significant corruption.
“Magnitsky sanctions, first started a decade ago with the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act that applied only to Russia, and made worldwide with the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act, have been transformative in holding accountable the individuals responsible for violations of human rights and significant corruption. It is no wonder that Vladimir Putin tried to stop these efforts even before they were enacted into law.
“Today, as Putin commits war crimes against the people of Ukraine, unanimous passage of permanent GloMag reauthorization sends a strong signal to him and other dictators and kleptocrats that there will be personal consequences for human rights violators and corrupt actors. The United States of America sets no time limit on defending human rights and battling corruption.
“My sincere thanks to Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) for their consistent support for the more robust version of the GloMag reauthorization that was adopted in the House last month by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 424-to-8. The House bill would have codified Executive Order 13818 as issued in December 2017. It is unfortunate that a very small number of Senate Republicans were able to block adoption of the House version, even though the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed it unanimously last June. While the Executive Order remains in place today, we will continue to pursue ways to strengthen the now-permanent Global Magnitsky statute, which provides an important and proven tool against Putin and others who have previously thought they were beyond the rule of law.
“Had the Senate failed to reauthorize the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, it would have expired this year at the very time it was needed to hold Putin accountable for his heinous actions,” Senator Cardin added.