Bill sustains fight against human-rights abuses


In 2008, a young Russian attorney chose to do something courageous. That man, Sergei Magnitsky, took the daring — and in his country, unprecedented — step of publicly exposing a vast web of corruption and tax fraud presided over by some of Russia’s most senior officials. Those authorities, stung by his insolence, quickly arranged for Magnitsky to be tossed in jail on trumped-up charges. Over the course of a year, he was beaten, tortured and denied medical treatment; he ultimately died on Nov. 16, 2009.
Magnitsky could then have become just another statistic, another smothered voice for freedom, another example of the corrupt prevailing over the crusading.

Fortunately, that did not happen. Magnitsky’s story found a voice through a diverse coalition of human-rights activists, business leaders, academics, think tank scholars and journalists — a coalition that helped inspire us to draft bipartisan Senate legislation that would hold accountable officials from all over the world who disregard basic human rights, who fail to uphold the rule of law and who unjustly jail, abuse and murder whistle-blowers like Magnitsky.

Indeed, despite our differences on other issues, we both agree on the need for this so-called Magnitsky bill.

The United States has long been a global leader in the fight against corruption and human-rights abuses, and there is broad, bipartisan support in Congress for continuing to honor that important tradition. However, even as the House and Senate have begun to advance versions of this legislation as part of a comprehensive legislative package to grant normal trade relations to Russia (and in so doing, repeal Cold War-era Jackson-Vanik sanctions), a key difference has emerged between the two bills: While our Senate bill would hold these types of officials accountable no matter where they might prey, the House’s version would deal only with Russian authorities.

Regrettably, from Minsk to Pyongyang, there are many other Magnitskys around the world without advocates to seek justice on their behalf. Our government needs tools that will allow it to stand up for these individuals — and that will help prevent such human-rights and rule-of-law abuses from occurring in the first place.

That is why the Senate bill goes beyond the particular case of Sergei Magnitsky.

Jackson-Vanik forced Budapest, Warsaw and Moscow to allow citizens to freely emigrate or travel. Rather than sanctioning entire countries, our legislation is designed to “name and shame” specific individuals responsible for gross violations of human rights. For instance, the bill would deny U.S. visas to such persons while also preventing them access to our financial system.

The bill would also give the administration a great deal of flexibility in the utilization of these tools; for example, the secretary of state could choose to place individuals on a classified list if publicly naming them might compromise intelligence-gathering activities.

The Jackson-Vanik sanctions we are about to repeal outlived their usefulness long ago; yet there remains an urgent need for additional tools to help protect the voiceless from despots, autocrats and strongmen — whether they reside in Moscow, Harare or Tehran.

Passing this bill would send a powerful message to them that the United States will not turn a blind eye to their injustices.

Sen. Ben Cardin is a Democrat from Maryland; Sen. Jon Kyl is a Republican from Arizona. hairy girls онлайн займы https://zp-pdl.com/how-to-get-fast-payday-loan-online.php https://zp-pdl.com/get-a-next-business-day-payday-loan.php займы на карту без отказа

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