Press Release / / 12.04.20

EU to Launch New Human Rights Sanctions Program

“Potent Tool” Lauded, While EU Urged to Include Corruption as Trigger for Financial Pressures on Rights Abusers; Experts Available for Comment and Analysis


December 4, 2020 (London / Washington, D.C.) – The EU’s first-ever Global Human Rights Sanctions program is set to launch next week, creating a new international scope for the EU to combat grave abuses of human rights around the world.

The Sentry, an investigative and policy team co-founded by John Prendergast and George Clooney, lauds the new targeted sanctions program, which complements similar financial pressure tools with international reach such as the United States’ Global Magnitsky program. The Sentry further urges that corruption, which is a driver or key component in major rights abuses, armed conflict, and mass atrocities worldwide, also be included as a trigger category for the consideration of EU sanctions. Experts at The Sentry are available for further comment and analysis.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “With the launch of its own Global Human Rights Sanctions regime, the EU joins the US, Canada and the UK in a welcome global trend toward the use of targeted sanctions regimes to tackle human rights abuses across the globe. When coupled with other financial tools of pressure, targeted sanctions can be a game changer where human rights abusers would ordinarily enjoy impunity and profit from their ill deeds.”

Megha Swamy, Deputy Director of Illicit Finance Policy at The Sentry, said: “The EU is adding a potent tool in its arsenal to combat those who perpetuate grave human abuses across the world. It should now swiftly use the new authority to deploy sanctions and work closely with US, UK, Canada and other partners for greater impact.”

Oliver Windridge, Senior Advisor at The Sentry, said: “The launch of an EU Global Human Rights Sanctions regime should be welcomed. However, this launch is only the first step. The regime’s potential will only be realised with the program’s effective use. At the same time the EU’s failure to include corruption as a sanctionable behavior should be addressed, either within this regime or in a complementary corruptions-based regime.”


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The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

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