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Thursday, December 01, 2022

The United States has imposed sanctions and a visa ban on Human Rights Day

The United States has imposed sanctions and a visa ban on Human Rights Day

By BEN FOX

WASHINGTON (AP) – As part of actions agreed with Canada and the United Kingdom on International Human Rights Day, the U.S. on Friday imposed financial sanctions and visa bans on former and current government officials and organizations in nine countries, including China, Myanmar and Russia. .

Canada and the United Kingdom joined the United States in taking the latest steps to suspend Myanmar’s military administration from the global financial system in response to the February 1 overthrow of a democratically elected government and the violent crackdown on the opposition. it followed.

The U.S. government has simultaneously imposed financial sanctions and visas on many officials and organizations around the world, including Chinese officials involved in the repression of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, and a Russian university that helps North Korea raise offensive money abroad. imposed bans. work program.

“We are determined to place human rights at the center of our foreign policy and reaffirm this commitment, using appropriate tools and bodies to prosecute and encourage human rights abuses and violations, wherever they occur,” the Secretary of State said. Anthony Blinken said in announcing the measures.

The State Department’s decision comes as six states – Uganda, China, Belarus, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mexico – have 12 current and former officials, along with their close relatives, who are barred from participating in “gross misconduct.” deprives you of access. human rights or serious corruption.

A separate but coordinated set of actions by the Treasury Department imposed financial sanctions and other restrictions on 15 individuals and 10 entities in China, Myanmar, Russia, North Korea and Bangladesh.

They include investment restrictions on China’s SenseTime Group Ltd., which is linked to mass government control operations in China. The company has developed facial recognition programs that can identify the ethnic origin of a target, with a particular focus on identifying members of the Uyghur ethnic group.

“On International Human Rights Day, the Treasury is using its tools to expose and prosecute those responsible for serious human rights abuses,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said as he announced the measures.

Among those barred from entering the United States are two Chinese government officials involved in the crackdown on Uighurs and other minorities in the country’s far western Xinjiang region.

Shohrat Zokir, who was the regional chairman from 2018 to 2021, and Erken Tuniyaz, the current and former deputy chairman, led a repressive campaign for forced assimilation and forced labor that imprisoned more than 1 million Uighurs. and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in brutal conditions.

The sanctions include evidence that officials in Bangladesh, established in 2004 and involved in more than 600 disappearances and nearly 600 extrajudicial killings, targeting members of the country’s anti-drug battalion, as well as members of the opposition party. journalists and human rights activists, the Treasury said.

The list also lists hundreds of work visas sponsored by North Korean construction workers as part of a forced and abusive work abroad program at the Russian University, the Justo European Institute and its provocateur Dmitry Yurevich Soin to help the repressive North Korean government. get the much-needed hard currency.

The crackdown on four officials and several organizations in Myanmar was the latest in a series of U.S. sanctions after the military overthrew a democratically elected government on February 1 and cracked down violently on the opposition. According to the UN, security forces have killed more than 1,300 unarmed people, including more than 75 children, since the military was captured.

The situation in Myanmar is one of the issues Blinken is expected to meet with officials from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand next week.

The only person named from the Western Hemisphere during Friday’s rally was former Puebla Governor Mario Plutarko Marin Torres, who was arrested in February on torture charges.

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