Press Release

January 16, 2014
Cardin, McCain Introduce Global Human Rights Accountability Act

“Visiting the United States and having access to our financial system, including U.S. dollars, are privileges that should not be extended to those who violate basic human rights and the rule of law.”


WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have introduced the Global Human Rights Accountability Act, legislation that would ensure human rights abusers from anywhere in the world are denied entry into the United States and barred from using our financial institutions. The bill, S. 1933, would expand the Russia-specific sanctions in the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act (Public Law 112-208) to apply globally, as outlined in the 2012 Senate Foreign Relations Committee- and Senate Finance Committee-passed versions of the bill.

“The United States must maintain its global leadership in the fight against corruption and human rights abuses wherever they occur,” said Senator Cardin. “This bipartisan bill gives us the tools to deter future abuses throughout the world, while also protecting our strategic financial infrastructure from those who would use it to launder or shelter ill-gotten gains.  Gross violators of human rights from Zimbabwe to Ukraine, and Honduras to Papua New Guinea, are put on notice that they cannot escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to act.”

“Congress passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012 to place the United States firmly on the side of those struggling for human rights and the rule of law in Russia,” said Senator McCain. “This bipartisan legislation extends that effort, holding accountable those who commit gross violations of human rights across the world. Standing up for the rule of law and establishing clear consequences for abuses of fundamental human rights serves our nation’s interests and reflects of deepest values, and I am proud to join Senator Cardin in this effort.”

Cosponsors of the Global Human Rights Accountability Act (S. 1933) include U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Carl Levin (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Ed Markey (D-MA).

A summary of the bill follows below. The full text can be found here.

The Global Human Rights Accountability Act

  • Directs the President to publish and update a list of each foreign national the President determines, based on credible information is responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other human rights violations committed against individuals seeking to promote human rights or to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials.
    • Makes an alien on such list ineligible to enter or be admitted to the United States.
    • Revokes any visa issued for such person.
    • Allows for a classified annex of the list, under certain conditions.
  • Directs the President to freeze and prohibit U.S. property transactions of an individual who is on the list 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.
  • Directs the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury to report annually to Congress regarding actions taken pursuant to the amendment.