CD: Now, if we look at this more broadly, is the Magnitsky Act replicable to deal with similar situations in other countries where gross human rights violations have become systemic? In other words, is this the basis of a new politics of humanitarian interventionism? And if so, is that desirable?WB: In my opinion, this is the new technology for dealing with human rights abuses throughout the world. It’s like the iPad for human rights advocacy. The reason is that the world has become very globalized in the past twenty years, and people who commit human rights abuses in their countries increasingly do it for economic gain. It used to be that the only tool human rights advocates and activists had was to be had through the voice of a Western government condemning an atrocity. What we found was that, if autocrats and dictators want to commit human rights abuses, they don’t care what the U.S. government or the European Union says. But if they’re not able to travel, if their children aren’t able to attend Western schools, if their bank accounts are getting frozen, there are personal consequences that make them very scared.
Read the whole thing to get a full picture of the promise of the act, and the future of similar measures.[Photo courtesy of Getty Images.]