Justice Initiative Calls on U.S. to Deploy Global Magnitsky Act to Curb COVID-19 Rights and Corruption Abuses
Today, the Open Society Justice Initiative co-signed a letter with two dozen human rights and transparency organizations, calling on the U.S. government to use the Global Magnitsky Act to address human rights abuses and corruption related to COVID-19 pandemic responses around the world. The group addressed its letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
As governments undertake extraordinary measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and sustain their economies, serious human rights and corruption concerns have surfaced. The Global Magnitsky Act—a bipartisan bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2012—allows the U.S. government to sanction human rights offenders by freezing their assets and preventing them from entering the U.S.
The letter also calls for clear, strong public messaging signaling that investigators, law enforcement, and financial institutions in the United States will prioritize the corrupt misappropriation of pandemic-related resources.
“Governments around the world have an obligation to respect human rights and appropriately deploy COVID-19 resources to reach those most impacted by the health and economic effects of this virus. Unfortunately, we are hearing concerning reports around the world,” said Betsy Apple, advocacy director of Open Society Justice Initiative. “The Global Magnitsky Act provides the U.S. the tools to hold governments accountable and prevent additional crises stemming from corruption and misuse of funds. It is time they use it.”
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