May 18, 2016

Cardin, McCain Statement on Global Magnitsky Act’s Passage by House Committee

Visiting the United States and having access to our financial system, including U.S. dollars, are privileges that should not be extended to those who violate basic human rights and the rule of law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Wednesday after the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The legislation passed the full Senate last year after being introduced by Cardin and McCain: 

“For too long in too many countries, perpetrators of human rights violations and grand corruption have not been held to account for their crimes and yet continue to enjoy travel and financial privileges in the United States. With today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee passage of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act, we are one step closer to preventing such impunity. 

“The bill is named for Sergei Magnitsky, who has the unfortunate distinction of serving as a prime example of the corrupt, horrific crimes that befall countless innocent people worldwide. Mr. Magnitsky lost his life for simply doing his job and trying to do the right thing when he discovered widespread fraud and abuse of power in Russia. Just like Magnitsky, human rights defenders are victimized and stigmatized around the globe.  

“Investigating and prosecuting gross violations of human rights is up to each country’s judicial system. When that system fails or when officials willingly turn their heads the other way, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act will ensure there are consequences and send a clear message to the individuals responsible: if you violate the human rights and civil liberties of others, the United States will hold you accountable. 

“In this bill, we ensure that the Administration has the tools it needs hold perpetrators of grand corruption accountable for their actions.  From Somalia to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan to Venezuela, corruption pervades governments, creates economic and political instability, threatens the impact of foreign aid, and damages investment opportunities.  And those who call out these abuses are often threatened, physically or psychologically abused, or worse.  This bill makes a point to fight the corruption and cover-up that are so often overlooked. 

“We thank House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Elliot Engel for their leadership in keeping the bill moving through the House process, and call on Speaker Ryan to ensure a full House vote on Global Magnitsky without delay.” 

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