UK announces sanctions against women’s rights violators in Middle-East, Africa


The UK on Wednesday announced sanctions against individuals and institutions it claims are responsible for gender-based violence in Iran, Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Marking International Women’s Day, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced the measures during a visit to Sierra Leone, where he is meeting women MPs instrumental in passing reforms to support gender equality.

“This package includes four individuals and one entity involved in grievous activities — including military figures who have overseen rape and other forms of gender-based violence in conflicts in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

It also sanctions Iranian institutions responsible for enforcing mandatory dress codes for women “with unreasonable force”.

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“Promoting gender equality brings freedom, boosts prosperity and trade, and strengthens the security of us all,” Cleverly said.

“However, hard-won gains on gender equality are under increasing threat. These sanctions send a clear message that the perpetrators of abhorrent gender-based violence must be held accountable,” he added.

Those sanctioned include Major General James Nando, who commanded the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, and is accused of being one of “the main perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence in Tambura County in 2021”.

Mahamat Salleh Adoum Kette has also been sanctioned for overseeing rape by fighters in the Central Africa Republic (CAR), while Amjad Youssef has been targeted for similar actions in Syria.

Cleverly is currently in Sierra Leone visiting his mother’s hometown of Bo “to see how UK-funded projects are helping women and girls”.

The sanctions build on a previous wave in December, which included 18 designations targeting individuals accused of being involved in abuses of human rights, six of which were related to sexual violence.

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