In response to final congressional passage of legislation containing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The Global Magnitsky Act gives the United States a powerful, targeted tool to hold accountable human rights abusers and corrupt officials,” said Daniel Calingaert, acting president. “For the first time, the United States will have a comprehensive law that brings some measure of accountability for these crimes and can deter future abuses. Freedom House congratulates Congress on this legislative milestone and urges the president to sign the measure into law.”
The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) and in the House by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ-04) and Jim McGovern (D-MA-02), was included in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
The Global Magnitsky Act allows the president to deny U.S. visas and freeze U.S.-based assets of human rights abusers and corrupt foreign officials. It also directs the president to consider information from NGOs when determining who to sanction. Members of Congress and certain assistant secretaries of state may also recommend names for sanction. The president is required to make public the names of individuals being targeted.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.