PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release

UK Government takes first steps to ban human rights offenders

01 May 2012

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday published their 2011 Human Rights and Democracy Report (http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/), in which a new piece of legislation was unveiled which would ban entry into the UK of foreign nationals who have been involved in torture, murder or other human rights abuses.  The upcoming legislation was inspired by the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian whistle-blowing lawyer who was tortured to death in Russian police custody in 2009.  No one has yet been brought to justice either for his torture and death of for the corruption which he uncovered. 

The FCO Report states that: “Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individuals has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the United Kingdom” and suggests that this criteria will be included in the immigration rules that visitors must satisfy.  The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission is delighted that the British Government is taking action to impose sanctions on those individuals responsible for human rights abuses across the world.  The case of Mr Magnitsky is discussed in the Commission’s upcoming report on ‘Violations of Human Rights against Professionals’ which looks at what else the Government can do to tackle abuses internationally.

This announcement comes after a debate in the House of Commons on 7th March which looked at whether the British Government should implement visa sanctions and asset freezes on the Russian officials who were involved in the crimes against Sergei Magnitsky.  Over 40 MPs from all parties voted unanimously in favour of this proposal and so the FCO’s announcement has been widely welcomed.

Robert Buckland MP: “As Chair of the Conservative Human Rights Commission I have had the honour to meet Mr Magnitsky’s representatives and to hear first-hand how he suffered.  I think it is only right that individuals involved in blatant abuses of human rights and the use of torture should not be allowed into our country and therefore I am pleased that the Foreign Office has recognised the need for legislation to prevent these criminals from entering the UK and hope that this can be implemented quickly.  I spoke in the debate on this important matter and am so glad that the wishes of Parliament have been listened to.”