The Enough Project commends the House Foreign Affairs Committee for passing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act out of committee earlier today. This significant bi-partisan legislation, championed in the House by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Jim McGovern (D-MA), and in the Senate by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and John McCain (R-AZ), passed the Senate in December, and now needs House leadership to swiftly bring it to the Floor for a vote.
This bill would give the President the ability to impose sanctions on non-U.S. citizens guilty of corruption or gross violations of human rights perpetrated against whistleblowers. It would additionally enhance congressional involvement in the designation of individuals to be investigated for crimes, and work towards the goal of ensuring that U.S. financial institutions are not complicit in supporting those profiting off of atrocities.
As Enough Project Founding Director John Prendergast notes, an important "step that the Congress could take on its own to put a dent in the culture of impunity that characterizes violent kleptocracies like South Sudan would be passing the Global Magnitsky Act. This bill… would provide the U.S. government with the authority to place sanctions on corrupt public officials who misappropriate state assets as well as anyone who attacks journalists and human rights defenders."
"Congressional leaders have a one-of-a-kind opportunity right now to fight global corruption. In an often divided Congress, the Global Magnitsky Act has bi-partisan support, has already passed in the Senate, and has strong support in the House. Members of both parties and in both chambers of Congress have demonstrated their desire to stem the scourge of corruption and the violence and abuse that are its collateral crimes. Magnitsky does just that, holding accountable those involved in corruption and anyone who commits human rights abuses against the brave people who expose their corrupt acts. With the legislative calendar shrinking, the time is right for this bill to move forward." – Ian Schwab, Director of Advocacy and Impact Strategy at the Enough Project
There are several measures in place that allow the U.S. government, the United Nations Security Council, and other entities to place sanctions on certain human rights abusers. However, the Global Magnitsky Act brings a unique focus to corruption and the illicit gain acquired through acts of corruption, especially with regard to those in official government positions, those who are complicit in corrupt acts, and those who facilitate or transfer the proceeds of corruption to foreign jurisdictions.