The European Union’s newly created’American Human Rights Act’ is applied for the first time in Russia, where opposition leader Alexei Navalni was captured and imprisoned. It plans to impose sanctions on finance and travel against senior officials.
According to a foreign press on the 22nd (local time), foreign ministers of 27 EU member states met in Brussels, Belgium, and agreed to sanction four high-ranking Russian officials in response to the Russian government’s detention of Navalni. Official approval is expected to take place early next month. Reuters, the head of the Russian Federation’s Investigation Committee, Alexander Bastrikin, the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the head of the National Guard, and Alexander Kalashnikov, the head of the Federal Correctional Service, were targeted. They are subject to property freeze and entry bans.
Josef Borrell, senior head of foreign policy for EU foreign policy, said that “people responsible for his (Navalni) arrest, sentence, and persecution” are subject to sanctions, and the newly introduced human rights sanction system will be applied. Said it would.
When sanctions are reached, the EU’s new framework for human rights sanctions is used for the first time, which is similar to the US’ Magnitsky Human Rights Liability Act. The Magnitsky Law, introduced in 2012, is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who was arrested and killed in prison in 2009 after exposing corruption of the Russian powers. Sanctions are imposed on individuals or organizations involved in human rights violations, such as freezing assets or restricting visa issuance. Following the UK and Canada, the EU made similar laws and entered into force in December last year.
Russia immediately rebelled. In a statement that day, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed displeasure, saying, “The decision of EU foreign ministers to impose illegal sanctions against Russian citizens for absurd reasons is disappointing.” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most static Navalni collapsed on board an aircraft in August of last year, showing signs of poisoning, and returned to Russia last month after being treated in Germany.
The EU also maintains a strong human rights stance in China. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) of the United States said that EU foreign ministers also agreed to come up with countermeasures against China’s strengthening control of Hong Kong. According to the newspaper, the measures include increased contact with Hong Kong democratic activists and the dispatch of the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to Hong Kong. Although it is not yet in the stage of imposing sanctions against Hong Kong and Chinese officials like the US, the EU explained that the probability is sufficient.
WSJ analyzed that “although the EU is advocating an independent foreign policy, there is a tendency to align with the US’s hard line on issues of Russia and China after the launch of the Joe Biden administration.”
Kwon Kyung-seong reporter [email protected]
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