On Human Rights Day and the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Department of State, in coordination with the Departments of the Treasury and Homeland Security, is taking actions to promote accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses. State is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on four individuals pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Annual Appropriations Act, 11 individuals pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, designating one People’s Republic of China (PRC) individual pursuant to the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (UHRPA), and designating two ISIS-DRC leaders pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. On Human Rights Day and the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Department of State, in coordination with the Departments of the Treasury and Homeland Security, is taking actions to promote accountability for perpetrators of human rights abuses. State is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on four individuals pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Annual Appropriations Act, 11 individuals pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, designating one People’s Republic of China (PRC) individual pursuant to the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (UHRPA), and designating two ISIS-DRC leaders pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. Treasury is designating 20 individuals pursuant to E.O. 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, as well as E.O. 13667, E.O. 13413 as amended by E.O. 13671, and E.O. 13664. These actions also implement the Presidential Memorandum on Promoting Accountability for Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. Homeland Security is also adding three PRC-based companies to the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act (UFLPA) Entity list.
Treasury is designating two individuals for serious human rights abuse related to the restriction of access to secondary education for women and girls in Afghanistan, pursuant to E.O. 13818.
- Fariduddin Mahmood is a member of the Taliban’s so-called “cabinet” that made decisions to close education centers and schools to women and girls after the sixth grade. Mahmood serves as the so-called “head of the Afghanistan Academy of Sciences” and supported the education-related bans on women and girls.
- Khalid Hanafi serves as the so-called “Minister” for the so-called “Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” (MPVPV). Since August 2021, members of the MPVPV have engaged in serious human rights abuse, including abductions, whippings, and beatings. Members of the MPVPV have assaulted people protesting the restrictions on women’s activity, including access to education.
Central African Republic (CAR)
Treasury is designating three individuals contributing to ongoing instability in the CAR pursuant to E.O. 13667.
- Jean-Francis Bozize Jr., a CAR national and son of former CAR President Francois Bozize, has moved weapons and ammunition from neighboring countries into CAR for the Coalition for the Patriots of Change (CPC), a rebel group that has recruited child soldiers and perpetrated sexual violence.
- Mahamat Salleh (Salleh), a CAR national, is a CPC commander and a former zone commander for the CPC-affiliated group, the Popular Front for the Rebirth of CAR, who has raped girls and forced them into sexual slavery.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
State is designating two ISIS-DRC (aka Allied Democratic Forces) leaders pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for their leadership roles. ISIS-DRC, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist, has committed numerous abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law against women and children, including involving killing, maiming, and sexual violence.
- Mohamed Ali Nkalubo (aka Meddie Nkalubo), a Ugandan national, is an ISIS-DRC senior advisor and deputy to ISIS-DRC’s overall leader, Musa Baluku. Nkalubo served as a communication conduit to ISIS-Core senior leaders and is responsible for disseminating ISIS propaganda in central Africa. Nkalubo oversees ISIS-DRC attack planning and training and has personally participated in numerous attack operations, such as training the suicide bomber that conducted the April 7, 2022, attack at a bar in the Katindo military camp in Goma, North Kivu, DRC; building an explosive device that was detonated on February 5, 2022, in a market in Beni, North Kivu, killing and injuring several people; and directing the October 23, 2021, attack of a restaurant in Kampala, Uganda.
- Ahmed Mahamud Hassan Aliyani, a Tanzanian national, is an ISIS-DRC commander. Hassan Aliyani oversees the facilitation of foreign fighters traveling into the DRC to join the group. Hassan Aliyani has also led attack planning for ISIS-DRC, including the June 16, 2023, attack on the Lhubiriha Secondary School in Uganda and the January 15, 2023, attack on a Pentecostal church in Kasindi, DRC.
Treasury is designating three individuals contributing to ongoing instability in the DRC pursuant to E.O. 13413 as amended by E.O. 13671.
- William Yakutumba, a DRC national, is the founder, military commander, and political leader of the Mai-Mai Yakutumba militia and the National Coalition of the People for the Sovereignty of Congo (CNPSC), a coalition of several armed groups in South Kivu province, DRC, that has attacked civilians and humanitarian actors. Through his role as leader of the Mai-Mai Yakutumba militia and CNPSC, Yakutumba has been involved in the commission of rape, mass rape, and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
- Willy Ngoma is the military spokesperson for the March 23 Movement (M23), an armed group that has perpetrated human rights abuses, including killings, attacks, and sexual violence against civilians. On November 29, 2022, M23 conducted a series of killings in the town of Kisheshe in North Kivu province, DRC, where M23 combatants systematically looted civilian property and raped several women.
- Michel Rukunda, a DRC national, is the commander and overall military leader of the armed group Twirwaneho. Under Rukunda’s leadership, Twirwaneho has recruited children as young as 12 years of age to guard military positions, carry out patrols, gather intelligence, participate in combat operations, act as personal escorts, or work as domestic aids in military camps. Twirwaneho has conducted attacks against civilians, including at an internally displaced person camp, and has looted and burned several houses and a medical facility.
On December 4, the United States also nominated these individuals for designation at the United Nations (UN) pursuant to resolution 1807 (2008) concerning the DRC.
Treasury is designating four individuals for each being a foreign person who is responsible for or complicit in, or has directly or indirectly engaged in serious human rights abuse, pursuant to E.O. 13818.
- Johnson “Izo” André, leader of criminal gang “5 Segond,” is wanted by the Haitian National Police for assassination, kidnapping for ransom, illegal possession of firearms, hijacking of freight trucks, and criminal conspiracy. André and his gang have been identified by survivors as being directly responsible for 1,035 documented cases of sexual violence in 2022 alone.
- Renel Destina, leader of criminal gang “Grand Ravine,” is a key ally of André, and has committed kidnappings as well as killings, robberies, rapes, looting and burning of residences, and continuous attacks against Haitian police officers. Destina has been indicted on charges of hostage taking by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for kidnapping U.S. citizens for ransom in February 2021.
- Vitel’homme Innocent, leader of criminal gang “Kraze Baryé,” has been indicted by the DOJ for his role in the armed kidnapping of U.S. citizens in Haiti in October 2022. The Department of State has a reward offer of up to $2 million under the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction when he was added to the November 7, 2023.
- Wilson Joseph, leader of criminal gang “400 Mawozo,” has been indicted by the DOJ for his role in the armed kidnapping of U.S. citizens in Haiti in October 2022. State has a reward offer of up $1 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Wilson Joseph.
On December 1, the United States also nominated these individuals for designation at the UN under Security Council resolution 2653 (2022) concerning Haiti.
State is designating two individuals pursuant to Section 7031(c).
- Terbit Rencana Pergangin-Angin, Former Regent of Langkat, Indonesia. He is being designated for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the forced labor of boys and men.
- Hartomo, Former Official of the Indonesian National Armed Forces. He is being designated for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killing.
Treasury is designating two Iranian intelligence officers for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, pursuant to E.O. 13553.
- Majid Dastjani Farahani
- Mohammad Mahdi Khanpour Ardestani
Both Farahani and Ardestani have recruited individuals for various operations in the United States, to include lethal targeting of current and former U.S. Government officials as revenge for the death of IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani. Farahani and Ardestani also recruited individuals for surveillance activities focused on religious sites, businesses, and other facilities in the U.S.
Treasury is designating one individual in connection to serious human rights abuse and corruption, pursuant to E.O. 13818.
- Jefferson Koijee, the mayor of Monrovia and a senior leader in the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) political party. Koijee has a reputation for stoking violence and has a powerful grip on Monrovia’s youth. Koijee controls paramilitary-like groups associated with the CDC which allegedly recruit former combatants and recently released prisoners. Koijee and his supporters have been involved in violence in connection with an opposition rally in July 2022, a memorial service for former Liberian president Amos Sawyer in March 2022 attended by students, an anti-rape protest in August 2020, a student graduation ceremony in December 2019, and an opposition rally in November 2018. Koijee also engaged in corrupt acts, including bribery and misappropriation of state assets for use by private political movements and pressuring anti-corruption investigators to halt all corruption investigations.
People’s Republic of China (PRC)
State submitted the “Report to Congress on the Imposition of Sanctions Pursuant to Section 6(a) of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, P.L. 116-145,” which identified two PRC government officials responsible for their connection to ongoing serious human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Treasury is concurrently sanctioning the two PRC government officials identified in the report. Gao Qi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 and UHRPA. Hu Lianhe is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13818, in support of UHRPA objectives.
- Gao Qi formerly served as the leader of the Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (Yili Prefecture) Public Security Bureau, an organization subordinate to the previously designated Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB), and as Yili Prefecture’s vice governor. Since June 2018, public security officials in Yili Prefecture have engaged in a range of serious human rights abuses. State is concurrently designating Gao under Section 7031(c) for his involvement in a gross violation of human rights, namely the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.
- Hu Lianhe has served as the Deputy Office Director for the Xinjiang Work Coordination Small Group of the Central Committee (XWCSG), which has been instrumental in shaping and implementing Xinjiang policies. As a part of its core role in setting policy in Xinjiang, the XWCSG engaged in direct and close involvement in the PRC’s March 2017 “XUAR De-Extremification Regulation,” and its October 2018 revision, which provided the framework for Xinjiang’s “de-extremification” through re-education campaign. The regulation created a presumptive legal basis for Xinjiang’s re-education internment campaign in the eyes of the PRC government. Hu was designated under Section 7031(c) in 2021 for his involvement in a gross violation of human rights, namely the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.
The Department of Homeland Security-led interagency task force Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force determined that the following entities meet the criteria of Section 2(d)(2)(B)(ii) of the UFLPA. Specifically, they are working with the government of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, or receive forced labor or Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, or members of other persecuted groups out of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
- COFCO Sugar Holding Co., Ltd
- Sichuan Jingweida Technology Group Co., Ltd
- Anhui Xinya New Materials Co., Ltd
State is designating one individual pursuant to Section 7031(c).
- Ivan A. Ryabov is a police officer at Brateyevo Police Station in Moscow. Ryabov is being designated for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely torture and/or the cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of Russian anti-war demonstrators who marched in opposition to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Treasury is designating three individuals for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan pursuant to E.O. 13664.
- Gordon Koang Biel, the Koch County Commissioner.
- Gatluak Nyang Hoth, the Mayendit County Commissioner.
- Joseph Mantiel Wajang, the Unity State Governor.
Between February and April 2022, government-aligned forces and allied militias under Biel and Hoth’s command committed rape, often accompanied by other human rights abuses, against women and girls during armed attacks in Leer County of Unity State. Wajang, appointed Biel and Hoth as county commissioners, and was aware of the attacks by their forces.
On December 6, the Secretary of State announced his determination that members of Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have committed war crimes, that members of the RSF and allied militias have committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Darfur, and that members of the Sudanese Armed Forces have committed war crimes. The ongoing atrocities in Sudan are reminiscent of the Darfur genocide almost 20 years ago, and it is imperative the world’s attention remain focused on the unfolding human rights calamity in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan.
Pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, State is issuing an expanded visa restriction policy for current or former Syrian government officials or other individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in:
- The repression of Syrians, especially through violence, including serious human rights abuses in Syria; arbitrary expropriation of property or other abuses related to housing, land, and property rights in Syria; obstruction, disruption, or prevention of efforts to promote a political solution to the conflict in Syria; and forcible repatriation of refugees or other persons to Syria.
- The production or trafficking of the amphetamine-type stimulant captagon from Syria.
- The immediate family of such persons may also be subject to visa restrictions under this policy.
State is pursuing visa restrictions against 11 Syrian officials and other individuals pursuant to this policy.
Treasury is designating one individual for having been a leader of an entity that has engaged in serious human rights abuses, pursuant to E.O. 13818.
- Johnson Byabashaija has served as the Commissioner General of the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) since 2005. During that period, members of the UPS have engaged in torture, including of government critics and LGBTQI+ persons, held within UPS facilities.
On December 4, State also announced an expanded visa restriction policy, pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, that can be used to restrict visa issuance to current or former Ugandan government officials or other individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Uganda or for policies or actions aimed at repressing members of marginalized or vulnerable populations. Those vulnerable populations include, but are not limited to, environmental activists, human rights defenders, journalists, LGBTQI+ persons, and civil society organizers.
On December 4, State announced a visa restriction policy, pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, that can be used to restrict visa issuance to individuals who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic process in Zimbabwe. Such acts may include manipulating or rigging the electoral process; disenfranchising voters or preventing individuals from exercising their right to vote; excluding members of the political opposition from electoral processes; restricting the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) to operate and engage in democratic, governance, or human rights related activities; or intimidation of voters, election observers, or CSOs through threats or acts of physical violence. They may also include engaging in corrupt acts, including bribery, that undermine the electoral process; interfering with the independent operation of the judiciary during its adjudication of electoral cases; or abusing or violating human rights in Zimbabwe.
Financial Sanctions Implications
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above, pursuant to E.O. 13224, E.O. 13818, E.O. 13667, E.O. 13413 as amended by E.O. 13671, E.O. 13664, and UHRPA that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.
In addition, all entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.