Note: This op-ed originally appeared in Euractiv and was written by Sarah Gardiner, former Investigative Analyst at The Sentry, and Rachel Owens, the head of EU Office at Global Witness.
In kleptocracies around the world, elites control the majority of state institutions and economic sectors and derive personal profit, often using violence and repression. Their ill-gotten gains are often stashed abroad with the help of international business partners and networks.
The lack of sanctions targeting their financial interests and networks mean looters and human rights abusers have little incentive to relinquish power or allow for genuine reform.
In December 2018, the Netherlands formally put forward an initiative for the enactment of an EU global sanctions regime for perpetrators of serious human rights violations and abuses, regardless of their country of origin.
But while the Dutch initiative draws heavily from a similar program in the U.S., known as ‘Global Magnitsky,’ and is a welcome step toward increasing international accountability for human rights violations, it is unclear if it will also sanction corrupt actors…
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