Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (334)

Seán Sherlock


334. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the need for an Irish Magnitsky act (details supplied); if he plans to legislate for such an act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8169/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

On 7 December 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted a Decision and a Regulation establishing a global human rights sanctions regime. The new Regulation represents a significant development in the EU sanctions regime. For the first time, the EU is equipping itself with a framework that will allow it to target individuals, entities and bodies – including state and non-state actors – responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred. This global regime will coexist with country-specific sanctions regimes – such as those against Belarus and Russia. The framework for targeted restrictive measures applies to acts such as genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations or abuses (including torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests or detentions). Other human rights violations or abuses can also fall under the scope of the sanctions regime where those violations or abuses are widespread, systematic or are otherwise of serious concern as regards the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU. It will be for the Council, acting upon a proposal from a Member State or from the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to establish, review and amend the sanctions list. The direct implications for Ireland are that we will be obliged to implement sanctions as listings are decided within the framework of the regime. The regime will target individuals and entities and may involve the imposition of travel bans and the freezing of assets/funds, which may be located in Ireland. Ireland may also be called on to grant humanitarian derogations under the regime, which confers this function upon Member States’ competent authorities. Ireland is extremely supportive of the new regime and believes it will be a useful addition to the EU’s human rights toolbox. . It will provide the EU with greater flexibility to target those responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses. It sends a strong message that the EU is a leader in protecting human rights and is willing to take concrete actions to ensure this.