Saturday, 18 July 2020 05:35

Australia looking to copy US and adopt Magnitsky-style human rights regime Featured

Australia looking to copy US and adopt Magnitsky-style human rights regime Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says one of its committees has been tasked with inquiring into the possibility of the country adopting a Magnitsky-style global human rights sanctions regime. This would be a copy of what the US has done.

A ministry spokesperson told iTWire, in response to a query whether Australia would stop issuing visas to employees of the Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies who are found to be assisting authoritarian governments in violating human rights, including in China's western Xinjiang Province, that the inquiry into setting up this kind of regime was due to report to later this year.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the visa denial policy at a news conference on Wednesday.

"The [Australian] Government will carefully consider its [the inquiry's] recommendations," the spokesperson added.

iTWire had asked the ministry: "Given that Australia often follows the US on matters like this, I was wondering if the authorities in Canberra are considering any similar action."

It is understood that Australia regularly discusses respective sanctions frameworks and settings with like-minded countries.

The Magnitksy Act is a law in the US — known in full as the Russia and Moldova Jackson–Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012 — which was passed with the intention of punishing Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow prison in 2009 and also to grant permanent normal trade relations status to Russia, according to Wikipedia.

The DFAT spokesperson added: "The Australian Government has serious concerns about the treatment of Uighurs in China and has consistently urged China to cease the arbitrary detention of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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