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European Union agrees on new sanctions against Chemical Attacks

Chemical attacks are illegal. The horrifying scenes impact has stunned the world community. Recently, European Union envoys from the EU’s 28 governments have started deliberations on generating sanctions  to punish any state actor using chemical weapons.

This includes chemical weapon attacks targeting individual people, such as we have recently seen with the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian agent.

The new laws will be applicable to everyone, irrespective of nationality, position or diplomatic status. This new proposal began in France in an attempt to stop what Paris and London are saying is the ongoing use of chemical warfare by both Russia and Syria.

The laws would allow the European Union to impose sanction without delay on any individuals known to use chemical warfare, freeze all of their assets and ban them from entering certain countries.

It appears that these new laws could be approved quickly, hopefully at this weeks EU Wednesday meeting. It is unlikely there will be opposition or debate.

Sanction lists are already in place against Syria and Russia for their use of chemical weapons, but not in place for individuals. Currently, individual people need to add to the specific country list before sanctions are applied, but the new law will target individuals, no matter which country they are from.

Alarming cases of chemical attacks

The rising use of chemical weapons and nerve agents is alarming for all governments. We have seen terrible mass attacks. More recently we saw the 2017 assassination of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2017. And this year in March we saw the attempted murder of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal.

These new laws will hopefully be followed by similar new laws for human rights violations. Individuals should be sanctioned for human rights violations, including corruption, hate speech, and abuse. The US Global Magnitsky Act allows for individual laws against human rights violations, the EU laws will be next on the table.

It is all close on the footsteps of Britain charging two Russians for the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, using chemical warfare. The two Russians are accused of spraying a chemical weapon at Skripal and his daughter, on the front doorstep of their home. Britain is likely to add the two men, Alexander Petrov, and Ruslan Boshirov, on to the individual lists.

United National Security Council has been unable to sort out the chemical attacks in Syria for the large part of the year, or over the last many years, and these new EU laws are being set up largely in part to their inability. Something has to be done and this is why France is pushing for the EU sanctions regime. Anyone who has seen the after effects of chemical warfare knows that their use is unacceptable.

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