On Friday, the U.S. State Department designated 12 officials from Uganda, China, Belarus, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Mexico for “gross violations of human rights.” The designations come as the Biden administration has made efforts to combine human rights issues into foreign policy.
The Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a statement regarding the decision, saying, “We are determined to put human rights at the center of our foreign policy, and we reaffirm this commitment by using appropriate tools and authorities to draw attention to and promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses, no matter where they occur.”
On the commemoration of Human Rights Day, which began in the United Nations on December 10, 1948, the department targeted people like Mario Plutarco Martin Torres, a former Mexican governor who was charged with jailing and torturing journalist Lydia Cacho in 2005.
Under the foreign operations bill, that has been approved by Congress and funds the State Department, the secretary of state has the authority to bar any foreign government officials and their close relatives from entering the United States in relation to their involvement with any corruption or human rights abuses.
As such, Ugandan military intelligence chief Abel Kandiho is not allowed in the U.S. after allowing deputies to arrest and mistreat people in disputes with the Ugandan government.
Four current and former Chinese government officials, Shohrat Zakir, Erken Tuniyaz, Hu Lianhe, and Chen Mingguo made the list for their role in Beijing’s suppression of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
Liu Pengyu, Chinese Embassy spokesperson responded to the sanctions, and said, “The U.S. practice constitutes serious interference in China’s internal affairs, severe violation of basic norms governing international relations, and grave harm to China – U.S. relations. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns that.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: VOA NEWS
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