EU export controls to be extended to cover human rights violations

On Thursday, November 23, 2017, EU Trade Committee MEPs voted to extend export controls to civilian goods and technologies that might be used for human rights violations.  New rules will be developed that will add certain cyber-surveillance tools to the list of goods and technologies that need to be approved prior to export.

Trade Committee suggestions include:

  • "Strengthening the protection of the right to privacy, data and, freedom of assembly, by adding clear-cut criteria and definition to the regulation.
  • Exporters of products not listed in the regulation but which could be used for human-rights violations, have to make sure that their goods won't fall into the wrong hands, by following OECD-based 'due diligence' guidelines.
  • The Commission must publish a handbook before the entry into force of the new rules, so that EU businesses know what they can and cannot do.
  • New risks and technologies have to be swiftly included in the regulation.
  • Creating a level playing field among member states, by, for example, introducing similar penalties for non-compliance, along with greater transparency of national authorities export control decisions." (1)

Klaus Buchner (Greens/EFA, DE) said: "With today's vote we extend effective control to cyber-surveillance technology.  We close loopholes that otherwise result in innocent people across the world being imprsioned, tortured and killed.  We make the protection of human rights a central aspect of dual-use export control.  We add strong, new transparency measures and include civil society participation, whilst continuing to create value-based European trade policy." (1) 

Key Term(s):

  • MEP - Member of the European Parliament  

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UK Introduces Sanctions Bill

On October 18, 2017 the UK "Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill" (the "Bill") was introduced in the upper house of the Parliament of the UK.  The UK government news release stated the Bill "ensures that when the UK leaves the EU, we can continue to impose, update, and lift sanctions and AML regimes." (1)

Most of the sanctions regimes the UK is currently complying with had their powers established in the European Communities Act of 1972.  Once the UK fully withdraws from the European Union, the Bill will establish necessary legal authority in order to continue to work with their international partners and effectively enforce sanctions regimes and money laundering regulations. 

"This will enable us to impose sanctions as appropriate either alone or with partners in the EU and around the world, to take targeted action against countries, organizations and individuals who contravene international law, commit or finance terrorism or threaten international peace and security." (2) - Alan Duncan, Minister for Europe.

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