BRUSSELS -- Meeting in Brussels, the European Union foreign ministers on December 10 gave political consent to a Dutch proposal to introduce a new sanctions regime that would target individuals accused of human rights abuses worldwide.
Dutch officials proposed last month to impose asset freezes and visa bans on 'individual human rights violators globally, unrelated to the political context and intergovernmental developments.'
They said the proposed framework would differ from the bloc's existing geographically limited sanctions regimes.
European Union sources told RFE/RL that EU diplomats will start working on the details of the proposed regime in the coming days, with the goal of having it in place by the summer of 2019.
The proposal has been described as a European version of the 2012 U.S. Magnitsky Act, which was designed to punish those responsible for human rights abuses.
The legislation is named after Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested after exposing a scheme in which officials allegedly defrauded the Russian state of $230 million.
He died in a Moscow jail in 2009.
Rikard Jozwiak covers the European Union and NATO for RFE/RL from his base in Brussels.
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