RFI Joins Letter to Congressional Leadership on Reauthorization of Global Magnitsky Act

April 1, 2022

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) joined 11 organizations — each “dedicated to the protection of religious freedom worldwide” — to send a letter to House and Senate leadership making “recommendations as Congress looks to reauthorize the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”

The letter expresses the concern that:

…[W]ell-intended efforts to expand the Global Magnitsky Act during debates over its reauthorization may have unintended consequences that could harm the very religious communities that we cherish and seek to protect. For this reason, we strongly support the reauthorization of the Global Magnitsky Act under the current standard of “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” while retaining the accountability mechanism of a sunset clause. We also support the greater use of the Global Magnitsky Act against violators of religious freedom.

Signatories to the letter recognize that:

Because of the Global Magnitsky Act’s success and support within the human rights community, many are looking for ways to increase the Act’s effectiveness. We agree that the Global Magnitsky Act is a vital tool for targeting human rights abusers and that governments around the world should be working tirelessly to make it as effective as possible. However, a number of proposed changes to the Act would hinder its effectiveness, despite the good intentions behind them.

One such proposal is to alter the “statutorily defined and well-established ‘gross violations of internationally recognized human rights’ standard and substitute it with an undefined and inherently unpredictable ‘serious human rights abuse’ standard.” Now is not the time to introduce “controversial assertions of what constitutes ‘human rights’ that do not have an international consensus” and which could lead to problems of “arbitrary enforcement, undermining the credibility of Global Magnitsky sanctions as a whole.”

Read the letter to Congressional leadership.


Organizations Joining the Letter:

  • 21Wilberforce

  • Jubilee Campaign USA

  • ADF International

  • In Defense of Christians

  • Christian Freedom International

  • International Christian Concern

  • Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

  • International Religious Liberty Association

  • Family Research Council

  • Open Doors USA

  • Global Peace Foundation

  • Religious Freedom Institute