UK sanctions two gov’t officials over human right abuses

By William Madouk Garang

The United Kingdom on Friday announced new waves of sanctions on two government officials for alleged involvement in the perpetration of sexual violence and human rights abuses.

The county commissioners of Koch and Mayendit – Gordon Koang Biel and Gatluak Nyang Hoth are among the 30 officials worldwide who were slapped by UK sanctions for alleged acts of torture, sexual violence and violent repression of the street protests.

UK said the two men were responsible for violence in Leer County as well as in mobilizing troops to commit atrocities against civilians. The imposed sanctions include an asset freeze and a travel ban.

“Today our sanctions go further to expose those behind the heinous violation of our most fundamental rights to account,” UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement on Friday.

“Amongst those sanctioned today are Gordon Koang Biel and Gatluak Nyang Hoth, the county commissioners for Koch and Mayendit in South Sudan. Both individuals were involved in the conflict in the Unity State between February and May 2022, and mobilized troops to rape civilians,” he announced.

The British government said its sanctions were coordinated with international partners to mark Global Anti-corruption Day and International Human Rights Day.

Early this year, leaders of Mayendit and Koch counties were accused of orchestrating violence against Leer County.

Those sanctioned include Russian Colonel Ramil Rakhmatulovich Ibatulin for his role as the commander of the 90th Tank Division, which has been involved in fighting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year.

The foreign office said the sanctions against 11 countries across seven sanctions regimes were the most that Britain government has ever imposed in one package.

The British government sanctioned Ali Cheharmahali and Gholamreza Ziyayi, former dictators of Evin prison in Tehran, which it said was a facility notorious for the mistreatment of both Iranian and foreign inmates.

Others on the list, accused of violating human rights were from Nicaragua, Pakistan and Uganda.

The UK also highlighted orchestrated sexual violence in sanctioning one armed group in Mali and three military entities in Myanmar. While designated individuals from Kosovo, Moldova and Serbia were accused of corruption.

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