A group of MEPs and Dutch MPs, including MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/Renew), have sent a letter to incoming President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen calling on the new Commission to adopt and implement an EU-wide law on the so-called Magnitsky list banning human rights violators from entering the EU.
Signatories of the letter point out to the incoming Commission president that the mission letter she issued to the EU's new foreign and security policy chief Josep Borrell lacked a reference to the imposition of said list.
"We have proposed imposing EU-wide visa sanctions and the freezing of assets as a response to human rights violations, yet to date, this legislative act has not been adopted," Paet said, describing it as necessary for the next European Commission to want to make the EU's foreign policy more united and powerful.
"Adoption of the Magnitsky Act on the Commission level will definitely be helpful in achieving these goals and send a clear message that the EU stands for the protection of human rights everywhere in the world," he added.
The MEP noted that the matter is not just about what happened to Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, but also about flagrant human rights violations over the world, citing violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 as just a couple of other examples from the recent past.
In their letter to von der Leyen, the European lawmakers said that as the world is becoming a more dangerous place and geopolitical lines of force are shifting, whether or not the EU will be able to remain a protector of democracy and human rights will depend largely on the next five years.
The letter calls on von der Leyen and Borrell to define the law on the Magnitsky list as a priority for the new Commission's first months in office.
Editor: Aili Vahtla