The European Parliament Think Tank on 26th April produced a briefing paper saying that sanctions are one of the tools utilised to address human rights violations. They are also an increasingly prominent tool in the European Union’s foreign policy. This study analyses the evolution of targeted sanctions regimes imposed by the EU, as well as by the UN, against individuals on grounds of gross human rights violations. It focuses on the most recent developments in international sanctions practice. It provides recommendations on how this tool could be further developed at EU level, making reference to the option of adopting a Global Magnitsky-type legislation allowing for the designation of human rights abusers worldwide.