Target: US President Barack Obama and US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Goal: Freeze the visas and US assets of those who abuse human rights.
The Obama Administration is opposing legislation in the Senate that would ban certain human rights violators from entering the United States, as well as freeze their US Assets. This bill specifically targets those involved in the death-in-custody of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. If passed, it would have wider implications for those who violate human rights worldwide.
Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian financial lawyer who exposed Russian government corruption on the order of $230 million. He was then jailed, beaten and denied medical care. He died in custody. The Magnitsky Act would allow the State Department to more specifically address human rights, and label individuals responsible for human rights violations, freezing their visas and US assets.
President Obama has stated that he disagrees with the legislation, as he is attempting to “reset” relations with Russia. Russia has said that if the legislation is passed, they will retaliate by barring entry of US officials into Russia.
Proponents of the bill note that the effects of such a move will not only encourage similar, wider legislation which can address human rights abuses in China and beyond, but will also set a precedent for Western nations looking to bolster human rights. The Obama Administration must take a stand against human rights abuses my passing this important legislation.
Dear President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
Human rights have been championed by the United States throughout history. The Magnitsky Act is an opportunity to show the world that we will not tolerate the mistreatment human beings at home or abroad.
Sergei Magnitsky’s Russian imprisonment was completely political, and he was tortured and denied medical treatment in prison, leading to his tragic death.
While diplomatic ties are important, it is also important to stand firm for our core values. Passage of this legislation sends the message that the United States does not condone abuse of human rights of any sort.
Please support human rights, condemn torture, and pay tribute to Sergei Magnitsky by passing this legislation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tim Pearce via Flickr