Strengthening Measures Against Foreign Nationals Who Violate Human Rights
May 11, 2016
OTTAWA – James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman tabled today Bill C-267, “Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law).” This Bill seeks to strengthen restrictive measures against foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. “I want to make sure that all violators of human rights are held accountable for their actions, and the Sergei Magnitsky Law does just that. This Bill will make amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act,imposing stricter sanctions on all foreign violators of human rights. This legislation will further enable the Government of Canada to quickly sanction individuals that are responsible for events like the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine,” said MP Bezan. Tony Clement, Member of Parliament for Parry-Sound-Muskoka and the Foreign Affairs critic for the Offcial Opposition stressed the need for this legislation in Canada. “None of the individuals responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky have been brought to justice. They must face repercussions for their actions and sanctioning these individuals is the right thing to do. This is one way that Canada can do its part to sanction those responsible for human rights violations”, said MP Clement. “This legislation is in line with Canada’s policy to promote democratic principles and human rights. It is important for those that are responsible for the torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky and other human rights violations be held accountable,” said MP Bezan. “Sanctioning these individuals is the right thing to do.” **Background** In 2012, Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was subsequently assassinated outside of the Kremlin, travelled to Canada to call on the government to adopt Magnitsky sanctions. He was advocating for the protection of Russian human rights and pro-democracy activists by applying visa bans and asset freezes on the people who killed Sergei Magnitsky and other Russian human rights abusers. The United States adopted the Magnitsky legislation in 2012 followed by the European Parliament in 2013. In March 2015, resolutions calling for the Government of Canada to adopt Magnitsky legislation and sanctions were unanimously adopted by the House of Commons and the Senate. During the last federal election campaign all three parties supported enacting such a bill if elected to form government. Sergei Magnitsky uncovered the largest tax fraud in Russian history and was subsequently arrested, detained, tortured, and murdered in a Moscow prison on November 16, 2009. None of the individuals who are responsible for Magnitsky’s death have been brought to justice.