REUTERS

The European Commission made proposals to the EU Council and Member States to address human rights violations and abuses worldwide, approving the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

Read alsoU.S. House of Representatives calls for sanctions against Russia over human rights abuse"As announced by the President Ursula von der Leyen at the State of the European Union, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy [Josep Borrell] have today put forward a Joint Proposal for a Council Regulation concerning implementation of restrictive measures (sanctions) against serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide," the European Commission said in a press release published on its website on October 19.

In particular, the Joint Proposal for a Council Regulation is one of the legal acts required by Council to proceed with the establishment of the new horizontal sanctions regime. It complements the Council Decision that is being proposed by High Representative Josep Borrell and that – once adopted by the Council – will establish the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

Once in force, the new regime will provide the EU with greater flexibility to target those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occur or who is responsible.

It is expected that the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime will consist of measures such as asset freezes and travel bans. On the latter, the Joint Proposal would also give, for the first time, the Commission oversight on the implementation of the travel bans.

At the same time, the new regime will not replace existing geographic sanctions regimes, some of which already address human rights violations and abuses, for example in Syria, Belarus or Venezuela.

The proposed Council Regulation will be discussed by Member States in the Council in parallel to the High Representative's Proposal for a Council Decision.

"Human rights are under attack around the world. The new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime will be a powerful tool to hold accountable those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses around the world. This is an opportunity for Europe not only to stand up for its values but to act," Josep Borrell stressed.

Background:

In December 2019, Borrell said that the European Union would launch preparatory work to develop a global sanctions regime to address human rights violations, similar to the Magnitsky Act passed by the United States in 2012.