The U.S. Treasury's ’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Friday announced sanctions against 20 individuals in nine countries for human rights abuses.
Friday’s sanctions include 13 individuals targeted for their roles in perpetrating or condoning the perpetration of rape and other forms of sexual violence in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and South Sudan.
In addition, two Taliban officials in Afghanistan were designated for abuse related to the repression of rights for woman and girls based solely on their gender. In Iran, two intelligence officers were designated for cracking down on opponents of the government and peaceful protests.
Two Chinese government officials in Xinjiang province were also targeted for serious human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim ethnic minority.
In announcing the sanctions, the department noted the upcoming 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or UDHR, “the landmark document enshrining human rights and fundamental freedoms for all individuals.”
The declaration was drafted by representatives from all regions of the world and proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948.
The department also noted U.S. President Joe Biden has made promoting accountability for conflict-related sexual violence a top priority, signing a memorandum last year to strengthen the U.S. government’s efforts to combat it, using financial, diplomatic, and legal tools.
In the statement, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. commitment to upholding human rights is sacrosanct.
She said the sanctions announced Friday — and over the course of the past year — “underscore the seriousness of our commitment to promoting accountability for human rights abuse and safeguarding the U.S. financial system from those who commit these egregious acts.”
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.