Support Needed to Stop Human Rights Abuses in Russia
Washington, DC (JBANC) --- More co-sponsors are needed to support the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the U.S. Congress, and to ensure its passage. The legislation is essential as it is directed towards stemming human rights abuses and corruption in the Russian Federation.
As the recent fraudulent Duma and presidential elections have shown, along with Vladimir Putin’s return to the Russian presidency, the potential for continued abuses by the Russian state grows greater. The continual authoritarian backsliding of the regime, rampant corruption, human rights violations, and lack of accountability and cynicism towards rule of law endangers not only democratic forces within Russia, but poses threats to other countries, particularly neighboring ones like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
The Senate Magnitsky Act (S. 1039), introduced by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) on May 19, 2011 currently has 33 co-sponsors. The current House bill (H.R. 4405) was reintroduced on April 19 this year by Congressman James McGovern (D-MA), and currently has 23 co-sponsors. The coming few weeks will be critical for helping bring this legislation up for a vote.
The legislation would impose sanctions and visa bans on individuals named as human rights violators, most specifically in the case of the imprisonment, torture and death of whistle-blowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered massive corruption within state structures. If Russian officials engage in major human rights abuses, they and their families should not benefit from traveling to, living or studying in the West, or banking in Western financial institutions. The Magnitsky Act has wide bipartisan support in Congress, and is supported by human rights defenders both in Russia and abroad.
Reasons to support the Magnitsky Act:
* It would place visa bans on Russia officials complicit in the Magnitsky case and other human rights violations, while freezing their financial assets;
* Corruption is out of control in Russia; the Putin regime seems to have little regard for the rule of law. It is important to stand up for the rule of law and justice;
* The disregard for human rights and legal accountability in Russia seriously impedes not only Russia’s domestic development, but is a grave concern for Russia’s neighbors, including the Baltic countries.
Please urge your Senator and/or Representative to co-sponsor the Magnitsky Act. A current list of co-sponsors can be found at http://jbanc.org. Please contact your Member of Congress if they have not yet signed on, and thank them if they have already. Your message will count, and makes a difference! Feel free to contact JBANC to let us know how your Member of Congress responded. Thank you!
• Congressional contact information: http://www.congress.org/congre...
• House Baltic Caucus member information: http://housebalticcaucus.webs....
• Capitol switchboard, for the telephone number of your Member of Congress at: (202) 224-3121
• JBANC: http://jbanc.org Twitter @jbancchatter and on Facebook.
JBANC represents the Estonian American National Council, Inc., the American Latvian Association, Inc. and the Lithuanian American Council, Inc.
Urge Your Member of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Magnitsky Act (S. 1039 and H.R.4405)