EU foreign affairs ministers to issue sanctions for rights abuses

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The European Union’s 27 foreign affairs ministers are expected to endorse sanctions against various individuals and entities for human rights abuses on Monday, according to EU diplomats.

At a meeting in Brussels, the ministers are to agree to sanction four individuals and one entity from China for their involvement in human rights abuses of the Uighur population in Xinjiang province.

Under a recently established global human rights sanctions mechanism, the bloc has drawn up asset freezes and travel bans.

The bloc is also to sanction several individuals and entities from North Korea, Russia, Libya, Eritrea and South Sudan on the basis of that instrument, diplomatic sources said.

Another country likely to be targeted by sanctions is Myanmar. EU ministers are expected to react to the ongoing crackdown following a military coup.

Individuals or entities linked to the military could be sanctioned, a senior EU official said.

Aside from endorsing sanctions, the ministers are expected to discuss the politically sensitive issues of Turkey and Russia, attempting to hash out their strategic positions to both countries.

While relations with Turkey have somewhat improved over the past months, the relationship with Russia has deteriorated.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the council on Dev. 7, 2020, adopted a decision and a regulation establishing a global human rights sanctions regime.

For the first time, the EU is equipping itself with a framework that will allow it to target individuals, entities and bodies – including state and non-state actors – responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred.

Such restrictive measures will provide for a travel ban applying to individuals, and the freezing of funds applying to both individuals and entities.

In addition, persons and entities in the EU will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed, either directly or indirectly.

The framework for targeted restrictive measures applies to acts such as genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations or abuses (e.g. torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests or detentions).

Other human rights violations or abuses can also fall under the scope of the sanctions regime where those violations or abuses are widespread, systematic or are otherwise of serious concern as regards the objectives of the common foreign and security policy set out in the Treaty (Article 21 TEU).

DPA/NAN