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Canada lawmakers approve bill banning visas for rights abusers

[JURIST] Canada's House of Commons [official website] on Wednesday passed bill S-226 [text], the "Magnitsky Act," which would allow for the Canadian government to take "restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."

These actions include sanctioning, freezing assets, or denying entry of foreign citizens of countries with human rights violations or corruption. The law also would make amendments to previous laws which afforded special protections to foreign nationals within Canada.

Russia has vehemently opposed [Reuters report] the bill, claiming that it is a copy of the American act of the same name. Like the US, Canada has had strained ties after Russia's recent actions in the Crimea. Russia has threatened that it was enact measures against Canada for passing the law. It has remained vague as to what this response will entail. Maria Zakharova of the Russian foreign ministry has stated that "any anti-Russian actions by the Canadian authorities will not be left without an adequate response."

Canada has claimed [NYT report] that a nonprofit group called Russian Congress of Canada [official website] has attempted to prevent the law from being passed. The group is suspected of being connected to the Russian government.

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