US designates individuals, entities for human rights abuses

WASHINGTON, The US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), marking the International Human Rights Day, took action on Tuesday against 18 individuals located in Burma, Pakistan, Libya, Slovakia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan for their roles in serious human rights abuses.

Six entities have been also designated for being owned or controlled by one of the aforementioned individuals, according to a statement by the Department on Tuesday.

OFAC designated these individuals and entities pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.

“The United States will not tolerate torture, kidnapping, sexual violence, murder, or brutality against innocent civilians,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

“America is the world leader in combatting human rights abuse and we will hold perpetrators and enablers accountable wherever they operate.” “Treasury’s action focuses on those who have killed, or ordered the killing of innocents who stood up for human rights including journalists, opposition members, and lawyers,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.

Mahmud al-Warfalli (al-Warfalli) serves as a commander of a militia known as the al-Saiqa Brigade, according to the statement.

Al-Warfalli is designated for being a foreign person who is responsible for, is complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in serious human rights abuse.

On International Human Rights Day, the United States reiterates its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights globally, the statement stressed. The Department has designated Aslan Iraskhanov, Head of the Ministry of Interior Affairs for the city of Grozny in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights.

In his prior position as the head of the A.A. Kadyrov police unit, Iraskhanov was credibly alleged to be responsible for the summary execution of 27 men.

“We note with concern the continued abuses and gross violations of human rights in Chechnya, which include widespread patterns of extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention by government authorities,” the statement pointed out. The Russian government fails to take adequate steps to prosecute or punish officials involved in these abuses and violations, fostering a climate of impunity, it went on.

In a related development, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said,” The Chinese government continues to repress members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere, as well as to undermine the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kongers under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.” “The regimes in Iran, Syria, and Venezuela commit gross human rights violations every day that shock the conscience. “In order for countries such as China, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela to regain moral authority in the eyes of freedom-loving nations, they must rededicate themselves to protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he noted.

In a separate statement, Pompeo said, “This week and last, the United States announced 72 sanctions designations under the Global Magnitsky sanctions program. These actions target serious human rights abuse and corruption on a global scale.

“As the world recognizes International Anticorruption Day on December 9 and International Human Rights Day on December 10, the United States is doing its part to promote accountability by remaining committed to the American ideals underpinning Global Magnitsky.

“In 2019 alone, the United States has designated 97 individuals and entities under this program,” he stated.

“The United States also applauds our international partners for their commitment to these same ideals. We congratulate the European Union on its decision yesterday to pursue the development of an EU Human Rights Sanctions regime.

“Finally, we also commend the courageous work of civil society and journalists, who play an important role in exposing human rights abuse and corruption and in holding public officials accountable,” he added.

Source: Kuwait News Agency