U.S. sanctions Central African Republic rebel Ali Darassa over human rights abuses

"The UPC uses killings, kidnapping, and other violence to achieve its goals," said U.S.l Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. "For example, on November 15, 2018, UPC members attacked an internally displaced persons camp in Alindao, resulting in the deaths of a number of individuals. In another incident, on March 15, 2020, four people were reportedly detained and tortured in Mboki under the orders of the UPC."

The United States government on Friday imposed sanctions on Ali Darassa, the leader of the Central African Republic (CAR)-based militia group Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC) over serious human rights abuses. The sanctions were imposed pursuant to Executive Order 13667.

“The UPC uses killings, kidnapping, and other violence to achieve its goals,” said U.S.l Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. “For example, on November 15, 2018, UPC members attacked an internally displaced persons camp in Alindao, resulting in the deaths of a number of individuals. In another incident, on March 15, 2020, four people were reportedly detained and tortured in Mboki under the orders of the UPC.”

Blinken added that “Darassa’s decision to abandon the country’s 2019 Peace Agreement further threatens the peace and stability of the country and has resulted in additional human rights abuses as well as exacerbated Central Africans’ suffering.”

“We urge UPC and all parties to the conflict to heed President Touadera’s October 15 ceasefire declaration, immediately halt combat operations, and begin the dialogue for peaceful political solutions,” he said.

In a statement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it had designated Ali Darassa (Darassa) for serious human rights abuses stemming from his leadership of the Central African Republic (CAR) based militia group, Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (UPC).  UPC’s militants have killed, tortured, raped, and displaced thousands of people since 2014. 

“Under Darassa’s leadership, the UPC militia has committed brutal atrocities against civilians,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “The United States will continue to target and expose human rights abusers, including those contributing to the humanitarian crisis in CAR.”

The U.S. Treasury Department added, “The UPC uses murder, kidnapping, and other violence to achieve its goals. On November 15, 2018, the UPC attacked an internally displaced persons camp in Alindao, resulting in the deaths of at least 112 people. On March 15, 2020, four men were reportedly detained and tortured in Mboki under the orders of the UPC. 

“Executive Order (E.O.) 13667 authorizes the designation of persons contributing to the conflict in CAR, including those responsible for serious abuse or violation of human rights in CAR, or those threatening the peace, security, or stability of CAR, among other criteria. OFAC has previously designated entities in connection with human rights abuse in CAR, including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), LRA leader Joseph Kony, and his sons, LRA commanders Salim and Ali Kony. OFAC has also designated numerous anti-Balaka and ex-Seleka militia leaders for threatening the peace, security, or stability of CAR as well as individuals and entities supporting armed groups with weapons and money.

“OFAC designated Darassa pursuant to E.O. 13667 for being a leader of an entity, including any armed group, that has, or whose members have, engaged in the targeting of women, children, or any civilians through the commission of acts of violence (including killing, maiming, torture, or rape or other sexual violence), abduction, forced displacement, or attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge, or through conduct that would constitute a serious abuse or violation of human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Darassa that are in or come within the United States or that are in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or those within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated persons.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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