China's crackdown on Hong Kong has not been added to the list (Image: Getty)Action will also be taken against two Burmese generals over the viole
China’s crackdown on Hong Kong has not been added to the list
Action will also be taken against two Burmese generals over the violence against the Rohingya people. But there were no mentions of Human Rights violations in China while MPs also called for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, to be added to the list. Speaking in the Commons, the foreign secretary said that the UK was taking action against the “thugs of despots and henchmen of dictators” as well stopping those trying to launder their “blood-stained ill-gotten gains”.
Russian officials implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 are also set to be subject to travel bans.
The whistle-blower’s maltreatment while in custody has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.
In the past, the UK has almost always imposed sanctions collectively as a member of the United Nations or European Union.
But the UK is putting in place its own sanctions regime after its withdrawal from the EU, underpinned by legislation passed in 2018.
The UK will initially target individuals or organisations accused of human rights violations around the world, as well as those who profit financially from those abuses.
Speaking in the Commons, the Foreign Secretary named several dozen people who will have their assets in the UK frozen immediately and who will also be banned from entering the country.
“These sanctions are a forensic tool, they allow us to target perpetrators without punishing the wider people of a country that may be affected,” he said.
“The regulations will enable us to impose travel bans and asset freezes against those involved in serious human rights violations.
“They include first the right to life, threatened by assassination and extra judicial killing, second the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment, and third the right to be free from slavery, servitude or forced or compulsory labour.
“The powers enable us to target a wider network of perpetrators including those who facilitate, incite, promote or support any of these crimes and this extends beyond state officials to non-state actors as well.”
He added that organised criminals will “not be able to launder your blood money in this country”.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said the UK has been a “haven” to those who use corruption, torture and murder to further their own ends.
She added: “Today I hope sends a strong message that the UK is not their home and that their dirty money is not welcome here.”
Tory Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat, above, said that there has been a “remarkable silence on human rights violations in China”.
Mr Tugendhat told MPs: “There is no, as yet, announcement on any sanctions of those who are either exploiting or abusing the Uighur minorities in Xinjiang or repressing democracy activists in Hong Kong.
“And I wonder whether that is merely because this is the first stage of the sanctions and it’s just perhaps that the Foreign Office hasn’t quite yet caught up with that, or whether that is a policy change?”
Mr Raab didn’t rule out Chinese individuals being in the “next wave” of designations.
Both former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Labour MP Chris Bryant urged the Foreign Secretary to consider adding Carrie Lam to the sanctions list.
Mr Raab said: “We will of course want to make sure we proceed in a rigorous way, we want it to be based on evidence.
“But the advantage that we have, one of the reasons that I have always been a fan, a champion, a supporter of these measures, is that they allow us to continue to engage bilaterally with countries that frankly we need to whilst having targeted sanctions, the visa bans and the asset freezes, on the individuals who may be responsible.
“Where the evidence shows that is the case we’ve got the mechanism to deliver it.”