European Parliament Resolution on the EU Human Rights Sanctions

On Thursday 8th July 2021, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (GHRSR), welcoming the adoption of the so-called EU Magnitsky Sanctions Regime and calling for some additional legislative amendments. The text was adopted by an outstanding majority: 584 votes in favour, 73 votes against and 33 absentions. It was previously endorsed within the AFET committee and was the subject of a long debate within the plenary session on Tuesday 6th July.

The European Parliament by this resolution effectively sought to address some of the shortcomings of the current system: both in terms of the scope of the regime as well as the procedure for adopting the sanctions. Recognising the devastating effect of corruption and its impact on Human Rights and taking notes from similar schemes around the world, MEPs requested its inclusion within the scope of the EU GHRSR.

In terms of procedure, the resolution highlighted institutional and voting concerns. It voices regrets on the part of the European Parliament for not being formally involved in the GHRSR and requested an oversight role as well as the ability for MEPs to propose cases of serious human rights violations. Moreover, it states that the role of civil societyshould be broadened,  including the setting up of an EU advisory level committee and the issue of guidance on the part of the EEAS on how to participate in the process. The text also urges the application of qualified majority voting rather than the previous unanimity within the Council for the adoption of sanctions, as this would further the efficiency of the regime and would strengthen the EU’s role as a global human rights actor.

In the resolution, MEPs also condemned the use of counter-sanctions against the EU, its institutions and Members of Parliament, bodies or citizens, merely for upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law through the sanctions instrument.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes this resolution and would like to reiterate the need for a more inclusive process as far as civil society is concerned. We would also like to highlight the importance of imposing sanctions on Gulf Countries such as Bahrain to counter a long pervading culture of impunity and widespread and systematic human rights violations. For the EU to be a true Human Rights leader, the imposition of sanctions should rest on clear indicators and factors and not on the economic relations between the two entities.

To learn more about our campaign on EU Magnitsky Sanctions for Bahraini perpetrators of human rights violations: please visit this page.

If you would like to contribute to the imposition of sanctions, please visit our gofundme page and help us pay for the substantial legal costs involved in such a project.

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