US govt sanctions 17 foreign officials for alleged human rights violation

The United States announced sanctions Thursday against 17 government officials in China and other foreign countries for human rights violations.

Sanctions were also placed against the immediate family members of the officials.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Chief Huang Yuanxiong of the Xiamen Public Security Bureau Wucun Police Station was sanctioned for involvement in the “gross violations of human rights” of practitioners of Falun Gong, a nearly three-decade-old religious movement in China.

Officials in El Salvador and Jamaica were also among those targeted.

Pompeo said Salvadoran lawmaker Jose Antonio Almendariz Rivas was sanctioned for his involvement in the September 10, 1990, “extrajudicial killing of Spanish national Dr. Begona Garcia de Arandigoyen.”

The State Department also sanctioned six individuals in Jamaica who “in their capacity as officers in the Jamaican Constabulary Force Crime Management Unit … were involved in the extrajudicial killings of four people on May 7, 2003,” the statement said.

Pompeo tweeted, “Together, we will ensure corrupt actors and human rights abusers will have no refuge within our jurisdictions.”

Those individuals and their immediate family members are to be designated publicly or privately and are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The U.S. placed the sanctions under the Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the U.S. government to sanction people found to have committed human rights offenses or acts of significant corruption.

The act empowers the U.S. to freeze the assets of the targets and their families and to prohibit them from entering the U.S.

The sanctions were announced on International Human Rights Day and a day after International Anti-Corruption Day.