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

American Jewish World Service

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain

Article 19

Association UMDPL Ukraine

Boat People SOS

Center for Civil Liberties

Center for Justice & Accountability

Center for Policies and Reforms (Moldova)

China Against the Death Penalty

China Change

China Human Rights Accountability Center

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Citizen Power Initiatives for China

Citizens’ Watch

Clean Clothes Campaign International Office

Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam


Council for Global Equality


Crude Accountability

DRA (Berlin)

EarthRights International

The Enough Project

Estonian American National Council

Fair Trials

Freedom House

Freedom Now

Free Press Unlimited

Heartland Initiative

Helsinki Association Armenia

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vsnadzor

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)


HRM Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan

Humanitarian China

Human Rights Center “Memorial”

Human Rights Club (Azerbaijan)

Human Rights Concern – Eritrea

Human Rights First

Human Rights Foundation

Human Rights House Zagreb

Human Rights Matter

Human Rights Monitoring Institute

Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Institute of Public Policies

India Committee of the Netherlands

Institute for Development and Social Initiatives

Institute for European Policies and Reforms

International Campaign for Tibet

International Partnership for Human Rights

Joint Baltic American National Committee

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Lawyers for Lawyers

Legal Resources Centre from Moldova

Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)

Magnitsky Act Initiative

The McCain Institute

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mexicanos vs Corrupción e Impunidad

National Endowment for Democracy

Netherlands Helsinki Committee

The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders

Norwegian Helsinki Committee

Open Dialogue Foundation


PEN America

Physicians for Human Rights

Platform of Human Rights Organisations in Malta

Project Expedite Justice

Promo LEX Moldova

Protection of Rights Without Borders (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity”

Religious Liberty Commission, World Evangelical Alliance

Reporters Without Borders

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

The Sentry

Sova Center

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International

Transparencia Venezuela

Transparency International

Transparency International Moldova

Truth Hounds

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

VETO! Human Rights Defenders Network

Vietnam Coalition Against Torture

Vietnamese Women for Human Rights


World Organisation Against Torture

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit

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