First "Magnitsky" sanctions to be imposed on Chinese human rights violators

EU ambassadors on Wednesday agreed to a new package of sanctions on four Chinese individuals and one entity over human rights violations targeting the minority Uyghur Muslim population, Politico reports.

The penalties are part of a new sanctions package that will punish several countries over human rights abuses.

The overall list includes 11 individuals and four entities in six countries, according to the diplomats. Among those facing punishments are two Russian individuals involved in alleged gay rights violations in Chechnya, according to one of the diplomats. The other sanctions will hit individuals and entities in Eritrea, Libya, North Korea and South Sudan.

The sanctions, consisting of asset freezes and travel bans, are being meted out under a new framework introduced last December, known as the "EU Magnitsky Act." They are expected to be formally approved at a meeting of EU foreign minister on Monday.

The Chinese sanctions concern the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang. Activists and U.N. human rights experts say at least 1 million Muslims are being detained in camps in the area.

These activists and some Western politicians have accused Chinese officials in the region of torture, forced labor and non-consensual sterilisations. The U.S. has labeled the situation a "genocide," a move followed by the Dutch parliament.

The Belgian parliament is due to debate the matter on March 25th.

China has continuously denied the allegations, saying the country is trying to fight religious extremism.

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