MPs call for New Zealand ‘Magnitsky’ human rights sanctions law

Louisa Wall MP and Simon O’Connor MP have written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta calling for New Zealand to introduce a Magnitsky-style human rights sanctions regime to target perpetrators of gross abuses globally.

The move comes days after the Australian government announced its intention to introduce a targeted human rights sanctions mechanism, following a successful cross-party campaign from fellow colleagues of Wall and O’Connor in the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance of China.

The full text of the letter is attached below.


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta

09 August 2021

Dear Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister,

We, on behalf of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, write to you in support of efforts to establish ‘Magnitsky’ global human rights sanctions regimes in New Zealand.

The universal human rights that form the basis of the international rules based order are under threat from a growing number of authoritarian regimes worldwide. 

Since its formation last year, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China has heard evidence documenting industrial scale human rights abuses in the Uyghur Region and elsewhere in China, with credible accusations of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Like many other authoritarian regimes, the Chinese government has manipulated or opted out of key multilateral institutions in order to resist attempts to be held accountable for these abuses.

In response to this challenge, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States have established human rights sanctions regimes to target the perpetrators of these abuses, including Chinese government officials in the Uyghur Region. This week the Australian government has announced that it too will introduce Magnitsky-style legislation. Unless New Zealand does likewise, it risks becoming an outlier among democratic states in acting as safe havens for the perpetrators of human rights abuses globally.

The time has come for New Zealand to join the democracies of the world in taking a stand against this impunity by establishing a Magnitsky-style global human rights sanctions regime. Targeted sanctions would deprive perpetrators of the most egregious abuses of the international access and recognition that they crave, while acting as a clear deterrent against potential future abuses. A Magnitsky-style regime would thus be a powerful tool for holding the Chinese government and authoritarian regimes across the world for their repressive actions. 

By acting in concert with Australia and other democratic states, we will be demonstrating the strength of our shared democratic values while presenting a united front against those that seek to undermine the cause of human rights globally.

We look forward to your response. 

Yours sincerely, 

Louisa Wall MP Simon O’Connor MP

Co-Chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China