Australia to sanction human rights abusers

Foreign Minister Marise Payne says new Magnitsky-style laws will target human rights abusers
Foreign Minister Marise Payne says new Magnitsky-style laws will target human rights abusers

Human rights abusers, corrupt officials and malicious cyber crooks abroad will face travel bans and financial sanctions in Australia under proposed reforms.

The Morrison government is forging ahead with draft laws to slap penalties on perpetrators of egregious acts of international concern.

Legislation could target people behind the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, gross human rights violations, malicious cyber activity and serious corruption.

Magnitsky-style laws are named after a Russian whistleblower who died in a Moscow jail after accusing Russian officials of tax fraud.

The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have used the measures to respond to Russian aggression.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the move would reform and modernise Australia's autonomous sanctions laws to enable targeted financial sanctions and travel bans.

Parliament's human rights subcommittee supported Magnitsky legislation late last year after Senator Payne referred the issue to an inquiry in 2019.

The government plans to introduce the changes to existing sanctions laws to federal parliament by the end of the year.

Australian Associated Press