On Wednesday, British officials announced sanctions against individuals and organizations in Iran, Syria, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic for their alleged roles in the perpetuation of violence against women in those countries.
During his trip to Sierra Leone, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly met with women legislators who played key roles in passing reforms to support gender equality. He made the announcement on International Women’s Day.
“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 imposes sanctions on Iranian institutions that enforce mandatory dress codes for women “with unreasonable force.”
Women’s empowerment “brings freedom, boosts prosperity and trade, and strengthens our collective security,” as Cleverly put it.
However, progress on gender equality is increasingly at risk of being reversed. He also noted that the penalties serve as a “clear message” that those responsible for heinous acts of violence against women will be punished.
General James Nando, former head of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces, is among those facing consequences after being named as “one of the main perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence in Tambura County in 2021.”
In addition to Amjad Youssef, Mahamat Salleh Adoum Kette has been sanctioned for his role in supervising rapes committed by fighters in the Central African Republic (CAR).
Cleverly is currently in Bo, Sierra Leone “to see how UK-funded projects are helping women and girls.” Bo is the city in which Cleverly’s mother was born.
More than a dozen human rights abusers, including six accused of sexual violence, were designated as such in a previous round of sanctions in December.