Norway Suggests Raising Magnitsky at UN

Norway Suggests Raising Magnitsky at UN

Published: May 23, 2013 (Issue # 1760)

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eider has recommended that his country’s lawmakers bring the issue of Magnitsky sanctions against Russia before the UN Security Council.

Eider said discussion in front of the council would be much more effective than Norway acting alone because any decisions taken by the council are binding on all member states.

The sanctions, which would include the freezing of assets, are targeted at Russian officials involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. In 2008, Magnitsky died after being refused medical treatment in a pre-trail detention center.

The case “has become of symbolic significance as an expression of the negative trend we are now seeing of an increased pressure on human rights, civil society and political opposition in Russia,” Eider said in a letter to Norwegian lawmakers.

The UN Security Council, where Russia is one of five countries with veto-wielding power, would be unlikely to approve any sanctions.

While Norway is not a member of the EU, Eider stressed that the country will use its membership in international organizations like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe to raise the human rights agenda in Russia.

Eider’s comments come just a day after Germany authorities refused to guarantee safe passage to Magnitsky’s former employer, William Browder, who was due to speak at the European Magnitsky Law event in Berlin next Monday. Russia has issued an Interpol arrest warrant for Browder on charges that his supporters call politically motivated. Browder has helped spearhead a campaign to blacklist Russian officials implicated in Magnitsky’s death. In response, the U.S. has enacted a blacklist of Russians accused of human rights abuses.

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