The European Parliament today calls on Federica Mogherini and the European member states to speed up the setting up of an EU human rights sanction regime. Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) has been involved in the developed of such EU legislation since 2011. She welcomes today's move to hold individual human rights perpetrators to account.
Schaake: 'EU governments recently created the possibility to impose sanctions for cyberattacks and the use of chemical weapons. The lack of a coordinated EU response in response to the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi illustrates that flagrant human rights violations should also be added to that list.'
'It is unimaginable that the murderers of journalists, raping militia leaders and other human rights violators continue shopping in Paris and dining in Amsterdam while their children go to the best European schools. By freezing their European assets and denying them access to Europe we attach clear consequences to human rights violations everywhere in the world.'
Adherence to existing sanctions
Schaake is happy the Dutch government has put European human rights sanctions on the European agenda, but emphasises that those sanctions already in existence should be better adhered to. Sanctions are imposed at the European level while member states are responsible for making sure their authorities and companies in their territories comply with them. Recent examples illustrate discrepancies.
Schaake: 'There is a clear problem when it comes to compliance. Italian authorities invited a high ranking Syrian official on the EU sanction list to Rome, Dutch companies contributed to the building of the contested bridge between Russia and Crimea and Belgian companies were asleep when components for chemical weapons were shipped to Syria from the port of Antwerp. Sanctions, and our foreign policy by extension are only as strong as the weakest link. Impunity undermines our credibility. Better agreements, adherence and a European mechanism to monitor compliance are essential.'