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Home / Testimony of Rob Berschinski before EU Parliament: “A U.S. Perspective on the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime” / Open Letter from Non-Governmental Organizations in Support of a Targeted, Global EU Human Rights Sanctions Regime
December 05, 2018

Open Letter from Non-Governmental Organizations in Support of a Targeted, Global EU Human Rights Sanctions Regime

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December 05, 2018



Dear Ministers of Foreign Affairs, 

We, the 90 undersigned organizations dedicated to the promotion of universal human rights and/or the fight against corruption, write to voice our strong support for the Foreign Affairs Council to initiate a process aimed at establishing an EU-wide program for the imposition of targeted sanctions on individuals and entities deemed responsible for serious human rights violations. Noting that the Foreign Affairs Council will take up this matter on December 10, 2018—the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—we urge all state representatives to honor the Declaration by supporting action on such a sanctions regime, and, in so doing, beginning the process of providing the EU with an additional, critical tool to combat impunity and defend human rights worldwide.

Today more than ever, we recognize that the promotion and protection of equal and inalienable rights form the basis of justice, peace, and security. Where human rights are violated and corruption is allowed to flourish, individuals are less safe and communities are less stable and secure. With universal human rights and the rule of law under significant challenge globally, now is thus an opportune moment to take an unmistakable step forward in defense of our common values.     

As we have seen in countries that have enacted and utilized “Global Magnitsky” sanctions laws to date, a global human rights and anti-corruption sanctions program can serve as a vital addition to the diplomatic and legal toolkit essential to upholding human rights and the rule of law. In a relatively short period of time, governments such as those in the United States and Canada have used their human rights and anti-corruption sanctions laws to fight impunity for some of the world’s most heinous crimes in countries from Myanmar to Saudi Arabia. A similar tool will provide the EU with the ability to shine a spotlight on and compel changes of behavior in some of the world’s worst human rights violators. Robust implementation also has the potential to deter would-be kleptocrats and those that would use violence to silence dissent and maintain their grip on power.

We applaud the Dutch government for its demonstrated commitment toward achieving a global human rights sanctions program. We also commend those other EU governments that have voiced their support for this effort and encourage in the strongest terms all other EU member states to likewise support the initiative on December 10.


Aditus Foundation

Institute of Public Policies

American Jewish World Service

India Committee of the Netherlands

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

Institute for Development and Social Initiatives

Article 19

Institute for European Policies and Reforms

Association UMDPL Ukraine

International Campaign for Tibet

Boat People SOS

International Partnership for Human Rights

Center for Civil Liberties

Joint Baltic American National Committee

Center for Justice & Accountability

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Center for Policies and Reforms (Moldova)

Lawyers for Lawyers

China Against the Death Penalty

Legal Resources Centre from Moldova

China Change

Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)

China Human Rights Accountability Center

Magnitsky Act Initiative

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

The McCain Institute

Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Citizens’ Watch

Mexicanos vs Corrupción e Impunidad

Clean Clothes Campaign International Office

National Endowment for Democracy

Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam

Netherlands Helsinki Committee


The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders

Council for Global Equality

Norwegian Helsinki Committee


Open Dialogue Foundation

Crude Accountability


DRA (Berlin)

PEN America

EarthRights International

Physicians for Human Rights

The Enough Project

Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta

Estonian American National Council

Project Expedite Justice

Fair Trials

Promo LEX Moldova

Freedom House

Protection of Rights Without Borders (Armenia)

Freedom Now

Public Association “Dignity”

Free Press Unlimited

Religious Liberty Commission, World Evangelical Alliance

Heartland Initiative

Reporters Without Borders

Helsinki Association Armenia

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vsnadzor

The Sentry

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)

Sova Center


Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International

HRM Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan

Transparencia Venezuela

Humanitarian China

Transparency International

Human Rights Center “Memorial”

Transparency International Moldova

Human Rights Club (Azerbaijan)

Truth Hounds

Human Rights Concern - Eritrea

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Human Rights First

VETO! Human Rights Defenders Network

Human Rights Foundation

Vietnam Coalition Against Torture

Human Rights House Zagreb

Vietnamese Women for Human Rights

Human Rights Matter


Human Rights Monitoring Institute

World Organisation Against Torture

Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit


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