US issues sanctions, visa bans to mark Human Rights Day – NBC Bay Area


The United States on Friday imposed financial sanctions and visa bans on former and current government officials and entities in nine countries – including China, Myanmar and Russia – in coordinated actions with Canada and the UK to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

Canada and the United Kingdom have joined with the United States in imposing the latest in a series of measures to exclude Myanmar’s military authorities from the global financial system in response to the February 1 overthrow of the democratically elected government and the violent repression against the opposition. that followed.

U.S. authorities simultaneously imposed financial sanctions and visa bans on a wide range of officials and entities around the world, including Chinese authorities involved in the crackdown on Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities and a Russian university that helps North Korea fundraise with abusive overseas work program.

“We are determined to place human rights at the center of our foreign policy and we reaffirm this commitment by using appropriate tools and authorities to attract attention and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses. , wherever they occur, ”said the Secretary of State. Antony Blinken said when announcing the measures.

The State Department’s action renders 12 current and former officials from six countries – Uganda, China, Belarus, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Mexico – ineligible, along with their immediate families, to enter the United States under a law that authorizes the prohibition of persons involved in a “serious violation”. human rights or significant corruption.

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

They included investment restrictions on a Chinese company, SenseTime Group Ltd., linked to the government’s mass surveillance operations in China. The company has developed facial recognition programs that can determine a target’s ethnicity, with particular emphasis on identifying Uyghurs.

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

Two Chinese government officials who have been implicated in the crackdown on Uyghurs and other minorities in their country’s far west Xinjiang region were among those banned from entering the United States.

Shohrat Zakir, the region’s 2018-2021 president, and Erken Tuniyaz, who currently holds the post and was previously vice president, chaired a repressive campaign of forced assimilation and forced labor that included the imprisonment of more than ‘a million Uyghurs. and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in brutal conditions.

The sanctions include officials in Bangladesh who are involved in the country’s Rapid Drug Action Battalion, a task force founded in 2004 that has been implicated in more than 600 disappearances and nearly 600 extrajudicial killings, with evidence suggesting that they targeted members of opposition parties, journalists and human rights activists, the Treasury said.

Also on the list are a Russian university, the European Justo Institute, and its provost, Dmitriy Yurevich Soin, for sponsoring hundreds of work visas for North Korean construction workers as part of a work program at the coercive and abusive foreigner who aids the repressive North Korean government. get the hard currency we badly need.

The actions against four officials in Myanmar and several entities are the latest in a series of US sanctions since the military toppled the democratically elected government on February 1 and a brutal crackdown on the opposition. Security forces have killed more than 1,300 unarmed people, including more than 75 children, since military takeover, UN says

The situation in Myanmar is among the issues Blinken is expected to address next week when he meets with officials in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

The only one from the Western Hemisphere named in Friday’s action was Mario Plutarco Marin Torres, a former governor of Puebla state who was arrested for torture in February.


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