EU adopts new global human rights sanctions regime

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On 7 December, the European Council adopted a decision and a regulation establishing a global human rights sanctions regime. This will provide the EU with a more flexible framework to target individuals, entities and bodies – including state and non-state actors – who commit or are linked to serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. This framework does not replace existing EU geographic sanctions regimes (some of which already address human rights violations and abuses in for example Syria, Belarus or Venezuela), but will enable the EU to impose asset freezes and travel bans on foreigners that are deemed to have violated fundamental rights: regardless of where they occur or who is responsible. The sanctions regime marks a great improvement for the protection of human rights, as it replaces the EU’s current country-by-country system for imposing asset freezes and travel bans on foreigners with a single framework. For more background information, click here. On 17 December, the EU imposed a third round of sanctions over ongoing repression in Belarus.