14:27 GMT18 January 2021
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    WASHINGTON, (Sputnik) - The United States sanctioned 17 government officials in at least five nations for alleged violations of human rights, banning them and their family members from entering the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press release on Thursday.

    "Today, the Department is announcing the public designation of 17 officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2020, as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act 2021, due to the officials’ involvement in gross violations of human rights," Pompeo said.

    The sanctions prohibit named individuals and their immediate family members from the United States, Pompeo added.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration's restoration of sanctions on Iran, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, at the U.S. State Department in Washington. Standing behind Pompeo is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
    © AP Photo / Patrick Semansky
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration's restoration of sanctions on Iran, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, at the U.S. State Department in Washington. Standing behind Pompeo is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

    Pompeo’s named rights abusers in El Salvador, Jamaica and China, including police Chief Huang Yuanxiong in the southern Chinese city of Xiamen for persecuting the religious group Falun Gong.

    A separate release from the Treasury Department expanded Pompeo’s list to include new rights-related sanctions on Haiti and Russia.

    The timing of the announcements coincides with Human Rights Day and officials have said the US government is making a deliberate effort to promote accountability for officials responsible for rights violations and abuses.

    Tags:
    Russia, Mike Pompeo, US government, human rights
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