Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The United Kingdom has barred 49 individuals and organisations involved in some of the most notorious human rights violations and abuses in recent years from entering the country.
The UK under the new ‘Magnitsky’-style sanctions regime will target those who have been involved in some of the gravest human rights violations and abuses around the world
The UK Mission in Abuja disclosed this in a statement issued on Tuesday, where it explained that the individuals and organisations are the first wave of designations under the new regime, with further sanctions expected in the coming months.
It added that the measures would target individuals and organisations, rather than nations.
It stated: “Forty-nine individuals and organisations involved in some of the most notorious human rights violations and abuses in recent years have been designated for sanctions under a powerful new regime established today by the UK, the Foreign Secretary has announced.
“From today, the ground-breaking global regime means the UK has new powers to stop those involved in serious human rights abuses and violations from entering the country, channelling money through UK banks, or profiting from our economy.”
The UK government said that it was the first time that the it had sanctioned people or entities for human rights violations and abuses under a UK-only regime, and would allow the UK to work independently with allies such as the US, Canada, Australia and the European Union.
The UK’s first wave of sanctions under this new regime targeted: “25 Russian nationals involved in the mistreatment and death of auditor Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered widespread Russian corruption by a group of Russian tax and police officials
“20 Saudi nationals involved in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Two high-ranking Myanmar military generals involved in the systematic and brutal violence against the Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities.
“Two organisations involved in the forced labour, torture and murder that takes place in North Korea’s gulags.”
It added that the Magnitsky’-style sanctions underlined the UK’s position as a global force for good, while also showcasing its commitment to the rules-based international system and to standing up for victims of human rights violations and abuses around the world.
The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, following his announcement in Parliament, would meet with Sergei Magnitsky’s widow and son Natalia and Nikita, along with his friend and colleague Bill Browder, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Raab was quoted to have said that the regime could also include those who commit unlawful killings perpetrated against journalists and media workers, or violations and abuses motivated on the grounds of religion or belief.
Raab added that a special unit would consider the use of future sanctions, with teams across the department monitoring human rights issues.