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Bring Jobs Home Act--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WICKER. Madam President, I come to the floor today to call Members' attention to recent action taken at the Parliamentary Assembly meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which convened in Monaco earlier this month.

The OSCE considered and passed with overwhelming support a resolution on the rule of law in Russia and the case of Sergei Magnitsky. This is a resounding and much welcomed rebuke of Russia's deplorable human rights record and systemic corruption.

With the Magnitsky resolution, the OSCE--made up of 56 participating states spanning Europe, Central Asia, and North America--reaffirms the widespread call for justice and rule of law. The international group has sent a clear signal to human rights violators that they will be held accountable.

The OSCE resolution supports government efforts to ban visas, freeze assets, and employ other financial sanctions against those connected to the illegal detention and tragic death of Sergei Magnitsky. The young lawyer was beaten and denied medical care in a Russian prison after uncovering a vast conspiracy by Russian officials involving $230 million in tax fraud. Sergei Magnitsky died as a result of his treatment, and no one has ever been held responsible for his death.

I have been a member of the Helsinki Commission for the last several years, and I have seen firsthand the contributions the OSCE has made to advance democratic, economic, security, and human rights issues. I was unable to attend the Parliamentary Assembly meeting, but I am grateful our colleague Senator John McCain was able to be there to highlight the importance of this particular issue.

The Magnitsky case is just one example of the gross human rights abuses and official impunity in Russia. But as Senator McCain noted in his statement before the OSCE meeting in Monaco, ``The demand for justice for Sergei is what has mobilized the world in his memory.''

Senator McCain is right to point out that the OSCE resolution--as well as national initiatives to punish those implicated in Sergei Magnitsky's death--is not anti-Russia. Indeed, a return to the rule of law would be of great benefit to the Russian people. To quote my colleague Senator McCain:

Defending the innocent and punishing the guilty is pro-Russia. ..... The virtues that Sergei Magnitsky embodied--integrity, fair-dealing, fidelity to truth and justice, and the deepest love of country, which does not turn a blind eye to the failings of one's government, but seeks to remedy them by insisting on the highest standards--this too is pro-Russia, and I would submit that it represents the future that most Russians want for themselves and their country.

Senator McCain then goes on to encourage the assembly to align ``with the highest aspirations of the Russian people--Sergei's aspirations--for justice, for equal dignity under the law, and for the indomitable spirit of human freedom.''

Like the OSCE, Members of this Senate will also have an opportunity to lend our voices to the call for justice and accountability. The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act would impose travel and financial sanctions on those associated with human rights crimes.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill and to uphold this country's commitment to the protection of human rights. I salute the leadership of my colleague and friend Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland for his leadership in this regard, and I am pleased to note that the Magnitsky Act was included during consideration of extending normal trade relations to Russia in yesterday's Senate Finance Committee markup. We are making great progress on this issue, and I look forward to a vote on the Senate floor.

In conclusion, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record Senator McCain's full remarks at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.


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