Cardin Legislation, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, Approved by Senate
Senator Cardin: “Passage of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in the Senate is a big victory for champions of human rights and freedoms. We are one step closer to ensuring that human rights violators cannot escape the consequences of their abusive and corrupt behavior.”
WASHINGTON – The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, legislation authored by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, passed the Senate and now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
The bill would ensure human rights abusers and corrupt officials are denied entry into the United States and barred from using our financial institutions. The legislation would expand the Russia-specific sanctions in the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act to apply globally, and would make significant acts of corruption a sanctionable offense.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed this bill in July 2015.
“Passage of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in the Senate is a big victory for champions of human rights and freedoms,” said Senator Cardin. “We are one step closer to ensuring that human rights violators cannot escape the consequences of their abusive and corrupt behavior. This bill allows the United States to shine a spotlight on human rights deniers and corrupt individuals who threaten the rule of law and attack fundamental human freedoms. The United States must maintain its global leadership in the fight against corruption and human rights abuses.”
The bill expands upon the “Magnitsky Act,” which became law in 2012 and placed sanctions on Russian officials responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an outspoken critic of the corruption exemplified by President Vladimir Putin and his government.
The case of Sergei Magnitsky has come to symbolize the rampant and often violent corruption plaguing the Russian state. Sergei, a 37-year-old tax lawyer, husband and father working for an American firm in Moscow, blew the whistle on the largest known tax fraud in Russian history. For that he was arrested in 2008 by those he accused, and he was imprisoned under torturous conditions for nearly a year. He was denied medical care and beaten by prison guards; he died alone in November 2009 in an isolation cell as doctors waited outside his door. These facts are accepted at the highest levels of Russia’s government, yet those implicated in his death remain unpunished, in positions of authority. In a mockery of the rule of law, Magnitsky was tried and convicted posthumously. Magnitsky joins a heartbreaking list of heroes across the globe who lost their lives because they stood up for principle.
A summary of the bill follows below. The full text can be found here.
- Authorizes the President to publish and update a list of each foreign national the President determines is responsible for significant corruption, extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials. Sanctions on these individuals include:
- Prohibiting or revoking U.S. entry visas or other entry documentation; and
- Freezing and prohibiting U.S. property transactions of an individual if such property and property interests are in the United States, come within the United States, or are in or come within the control of a U.S. person or entity.
- Authorizes the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury to report annually to Congress regarding actions taken pursuant to the bill.