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UK preparing sanctions over Belarus human rights violations

Published: (Updated: ) in European News by .

Foreign secretary says sanctions to be coordinated with US and Canada.

LONDON — The U.K. is preparing sanctions against individuals in Belarus in coordination with the U.S. and Canada, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Thursday.

Addressing the House of Commons, Raab said: “The U.K., the West and the world cannot sit idly by while the Belarusian people’s democratic and human rights are violated so brutally.”

The foreign secretary told MPs that the U.K. was willing to join the EU in adopting targeted sanctions against those responsible but the EU process has been delayed.

“Given that delay … given [Belarus President Alexander] Lukashenko’s fraudulent inauguration, I have directed the [Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office] sanctions team to prepare Magnitsky sanctions for those responsible for the serious human rights violations,” Raab said.

“We are coordinating with the United States and Canada to prepare appropriate listings as a matter of urgency.”

EU foreign ministers again failed to achieve the unanimity necessary to impose sanctions against Belarus at a meeting on Friday. EU countries do all agree on the sanctions but Cyprus has refused to give its approval in an attempt to force other EU nations to support tougher sanctions against Turkey in a dispute over drilling for energy resources in the Mediterranean Sea.

Raab added that the U.K. would also increase funding for human rights groups, independent media organizations and community groups in Belarus in order to support those attempting to shine a light on the situation and would provide an extra £1.5 million over the next two years.


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