House Adopts Magnitsky Act in Unanimous Vote!

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House Adopts Magnitsky Act in Unanimous Vote!

October 5, 2017. OTTAWA. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) welcomes the unanimous adoption of S-226, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) by Canada’s House of Commons on October 4.

The Sergei Magnitsky Law, sponsored by Senator Raynell Andreychuk, provides “for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” It passed the House of Commons in a 277-0 vote.

The law allows Canada to target foreign officials who are responsible for human rights abuses and corruption by implementing asset freezes and travel bans against them. It is an important signal to the world that Canada will not tolerate the violation of internationally recognized human rights, and that officials who violate those rights are not welcome in Canada.

The United States, United Kingdom and Estonia have previously adopted similar legislation. It is hoped that Canada’s strong record of defending human rights abroad will facilitate the adoption of Magnitsky-type laws in many other countries.

Canada’s Senate adopted the legislation in April, 2017. Member of Parliament James Bezan (MP, Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman) introduced the legislation in the House of Commons in May, 2017. The Act will be tabled in the Senate for a vote before receiving Royal Assent.

“Yesterday was a truly historic day, and I congratulate all Parliamentarians and advocates who worked so hard on the adoption of this legislation,” stated Paul Grod, National President of the UCC. “Russia continues to demonstrate its abject contempt for international law and internationally recognized standards of human rights. It is critical that the Government of Canada move swiftly to implement sanctions against Russian individuals and organizations responsible for violations of international law and the rights of Ukrainian and Russian citizens.”

Currently, there are over 40 Ukrainian citizens illegally imprisoned by Russia, including Oleg Sentsov, Ilmi Umerov, Akhtem Chiygoz, Oleksander Kolchenko, Stanislav Klikh, Mykola Karpyuk, and many others. The Russian regime continues to ignore repeated calls by the international community for their immediate release.

The UCC calls on the Government of Canada to:

  1. Move swiftly to implement sanctions against Russian judges, prosecutors, investigators and other officials responsible for the illegal imprisonment and maltreatment of Ukrainian citizens;
  2.  Establish specialized sanctions units at the Departments of Global Affairs and Finance in order to ensure that sanctions are implemented effectively and comprehensively.

For the final debate in the House on the Magnitsky Act on October 2, please click on image below:

Background:

  • The full Magnitsky Law is available here: S-226, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law)
  • Magnitsky legislation is named after the late Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer and fraud investigator who uncovered evidence of a major theft of tax money by Russian government officials – but was then arrested for it himself by Russian authorities, imprisoned, tortured and left to languish for 358 days before he died in jail at age 37;
  • During the statutory review of Canada’s sanctions legislation by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development , the UCC presented a brief to the Committee, which recommended the “swift adoption of an amendment to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Freezing Assets of Foreign Corrupt Officials Act that would allow the Government of Canada to implement sanctions against foreign officials who violate internationally accepted norms of human rights.” The UCC’s submission to the Committee is available here: UCC Position SEMA Statutory Review 

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