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Tue Jun 19, 2012, 12:03 AM


Key religious group supports human-rights measure linked to Russia trade

By Erik Wasson - 06/18/12 09:56 AM ET

Support for linking a human rights measure to an upcoming Russia trade bill got an important boost Monday when a key Jewish rights group announced it is backing the bill.

Normal trade relations with Russia is currently conditioned on Russia allowing its Jewish citizens to emigrate. It is subject to an outdated measure known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which was applied in the mid-1980s and which no one thinks is still relevant.

The Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, which backed the initial Jackson-Vanik tie, is now advocating for a new human-rights measure meant to punish those responsible for the death of Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky.

The bill, which would subject Russian human-rights abusers to financial sanctions, is opposed by some in the business community who worry it will inadvertently subject U.S. firms that do business in Russia to penalties.


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Reply Key religious group supports human-rights measure linked to Russia trade (Original post)
rug Jun 2012 OP
laconicsax Jun 2012 #1

Response to rug (Original post)

Tue Jun 19, 2012, 02:16 AM

1. Here's the letter they sent Congress


Dear Member of Congress,

We are religious and human rights organizations which work together on issues of international importance and today we are writing you to support the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” currently before both houses of Congress.

Issues of human rights and religious freedom are inseparable. As representatives of a wide number of religions and faiths across the United States, we do everything possible to make sure that all people can practice their faith around the world without restriction or interference. For this reason, we strongly support the passage of the “Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act” (H.R 4405 / S.1039). This Act was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a young lawyer in Russia who bravely stood up to corruption, and ultimately paid the highest possible price by losing his life at the hands of the official of the Russian state involved in the corruption he uncovered. The details of his story are extremely sad, but his sacrifice will hopefully lead to an important and new method for fighting human rights abuses which could have a dramatic effect everywhere.

Among other things, we support this legislation because it specifically targets officials who abuse human rights with effective travel and financial sanctions. America’s rule of law, property rights and entrenched freedoms make our country a magnet for millions of people all over the world. They visit our great nation to enjoy our stability, use our banking system and feel safe. We support sharing our way of life with people from all over the world who want to visit our country. At the same time, coming to America is a privilege and not a right, and when foreign officials are involved in torture, murder, restrictions of religious freedom or other human rights abuses, they should have that privilege taken away. We believe that this law would not only create an effective punishment for people who have violated human rights, but also a powerful deterrent for people not to do these things in the future.

It is one thing to talk about human rights and religious freedoms and quite another to actually do something about it. Because of the well thought out terms of this legislation, we believe that this bill will become an effective lever that the United States will have in dealing with this pernicious and growing problem of human rights abuses around the world. We strongly urge you to co-sponsor this bill in the short term and vote for its passage into law.

Sincerely Yours,


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