Why we’re implementing Magnitsky’s Law

Dominic Raab introduces the plans for a Magnitsky Act

Once we have left the EU we will implement the ‘Magnitsky’ provisions of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. That way, those responsible for human rights abuse are held to account with travel bans and asset freezes.


What is Magnitsky’s Law?


Magnitsky’s law provides for sanctions against corrupt officials who commit gross human rights abuse. A Magnitsky law would give the UK government the power to impose sanctions on people who commit gross human rights violations, and go further than existing legislation.


Why is it called the Magnitsky’s Law?


Sergei Magnitsky's grave

Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, discovered corruption by Russian officials but was arrested in 2008 after alleging specific Russian officials were involved in large-scale tax fraud. He subsequently refused to withdraw his testimony and died in prison in 2009, after repeatedly claiming mistreatment.

As a result, a campaign was started to have sanctions imposed on the officials involved. After a ‘Magnitsky Law’ was first passed by the United States, campaigns for Magnitsky laws have emerged across the world to punish those officials who misuse their position and commit human rights abuses.


This comes on the back of other Conservative human rights policies

Since coming to government, we have worked hard to make sure we protect the intrinsic value of human rights both at home and abroad.

We have worked with our allies to impose sanctions on those responsible for the Salisbury poisonings. This delivered on our vow to take tough action against the reckless and irresponsible activities of Russian military intelligence, which put innocent British citizens in serious danger in Salisbury.

We have also passed legislation like the Modern Slavery Act, to further combat inhumane treatment of people within the United Kingdom and abroad.

We will ensure that Global Britain is not a safe haven for those who profit from torturing others. Our actions as a government demonstrate our commitment to human rights.


Dmitry Rozhkov / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

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Jeremy Corbyn opposes sanctions to promote human rights abroad


As part of an EU-wide policy, we imposed sanctions on Venezuela after a number of gross human rights abuses from Maduro and other figures. But Jeremy Corbyn attacked the government when we called for more sanctions on Venezuela, saying our call “for more sanctions on Venezuela is wrong. We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else.”

This is despite his own Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, saying she is a “great believer” in sanctions and that “there is much creative work that can be done.”

The Labour Party has no clear policy for punishing human rights abusers. By contrast, by pledging to pass a Magnitsky Act in Parliament, we have made clear that we will pass robust legislation to defend human rights outside of the European Union.


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