Magnitsky human rights act to violate the right to national self-determination (Part 1)

03/04/2017

Kết quả hình ảnh cho Magnitsky  act

The U.S. tends to impose its own law on other sovereign nations. Today, this move has not only become obsolete but violated countries’ right to national self-determination. The new Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act is an example.
According to many foreign news agencies, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the last bill in his presidential term into law– S. 2943, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA 2017)”. This law contains a human rights act named “Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (hereinafter referred to as Magnitsky Act)”. Contrary to previous sanctions, which used to focus on condemning and restricting political and economic relations, especially economic aid for governments, the Magnitsky Act is aimed at individuals. For example, based on the “Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom”, U.S. Government recommends that the Congress and President designate countries with serious breach of religious freedom as “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC).” The U.S. would oppose, condemn and reduce political and economic relations with CPC while the Magnitsky Act would allow the administration to apply human rights-based sanctions to individuals and officials regarded as violation of human rights and corruption in CPC.
The Magnitsky Act authorizes the President to: (1) impose U.S. entry sanctions against any foreign person, including official passport holders, and (2) block and prohibit transactions in property (in any forms) of any foreign person, who has been designated as breach of human rights and corruption. The President may terminate these sanctions under specified conditions and must report to Congress. According to this Act, “the President may impose sanctions…, on the basis of reliable evidence, against any individual” who is “responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in any foreign countries.” This Act will be valid for 6 years (since being signed).
Right after the “Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act” had been adopted, a number of countries opposed. In Vietnam, some individuals and cyber “civil society organizations” were so delighted. Some even recommended bad elements to send unreal information provided by religious organizations, cyber “civil society” and suppressed people, etc., to U.S. Department of State and the European Union to invoke the aforementioned sanctions.
So, where did the “Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act” originate from? Is it in line with today’s principles of international relations? As far as Vietnam is concerned, is this Act feasible and helpful to Vietnam-U.S. relations currently?
“The Magnitsky Act” originated from an event in Russia. In the 2008-2009 period, Mr. Magnitsky was imprisoned by Russian authorities for violation of law and died in prison. American radicals and people with anti-Russian sentiments blamed Russian authorities on human rights violations.
Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer at a Moscow law firm, was arrested for law violations on November 24, 2008. He was later prosecuted and found guilty of tax evasion by a Moscow criminal court. Mr. Magnitsky died in a prison in Moscow on November 16, 2009 after nearly one year’s detention.
In order to punish Russian authorities, U.S. Congress adopted an act to impose sanctions on Russian individuals and officials, who was allegedly involved in Magnitsky’s death. Based on these sanctions, several members of the U.S. Congress, under the pressure of their voters, urged President Barack Obama to sign into law the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.” The list of persons, groups and entities subject to these sanctions, however, was widened to include not only Russian officials relating to Sergei Magnitsky’s death, but all of individuals and officials in other countries. Consequently, it was named as the “Global human rights law” by the U.S.

It can be said that the Magnitsky Act represents a mistake of U.S. Congress and President. American evaluation of an affair abroad (in Russia or any country) in certain cases cannot guarantee scientific objectivity. Mr. Magnitsky’s arrest and trial at a public court according to Russian law was within the domestic jurisdiction of any state under the Charter of the United Nations. The sanctions against Russian officials, who were performing their duties, were unfair and violated their right to perform official duties.
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