– Human rights abusers must feel the heat and pain of EU sanctions –

“President Von Der Leyen’s commitment to a European Magnitsky Act in this morning’ State of the Union Speech is a significant development, and one which can ensure that the EU does more than criticise those who abuse human rights,” said Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher.

“The EU Commission President was right to recognise the leading role the Parliament has had in demanding a European Magnitsky Act, and it is now right and proper that the Commission comes forward with a detailed proposal.

“The EU must, where possible, and especially when it comes to the abuse of human rights and the persecution of people, must act clearly and loudly. There can be no ambiguity about how the Union views those who flagrantly violate international law and human rights.

“Those who abuse human rights must feel the heat and pain of EU sanctions.

“One of the biggest criticisms I have had of the EU has been its unwillingness to go beyond words of criticism. Having an act of this nature finally gives the EU a tool in which to sanction those culpable of human rights abuses.

“I have been calling for such an act for some time, and today’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction. The European Parliament, and I believe the European Council too, will work to ensure the best possible system and have it adopted as quickly as possible,” concluded Kelleher.