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US places sanctions on Zimbabwe's state security minister Owen Ncube for gross human rights abuses

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New York, USA, October 26  (Infosplusgabon)  -  The United States government Friday added Zimbabwe's State Security Minister Owen Ncube to its list of officials sanctioned for “gross human rights” violations.


The decision was announced on Zimbabwe's new public holiday, dubbed ‘Anti-Sanctions Day’, on 25 October to increase pressure on the US to remove its targeted sanctions on 143 individuals and entities.


However, activities lined up for the day were poorly attended despite a solidarity statement by the Southern African Development Community calling for the removal of the sanctions.


“Today, the Department designates Owen Ncube under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act (Div. F, P.L. 116-6), as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. A, P.L. 116-59) due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights,” said United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, in a statement here.


“The Department has credible information that Owen Ncube was involved in gross violations of human rights in his capacity as Zimbabwe’s Minister of State for National Security.”


Section 7031(c) of the law states that “in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals are ineligible for entry into the United States and may be publicly or privately designated as such by the Secretary of State”.


Several local and foreign non-governmental organisations have reported a rapid increase in human rights abuses by alleged state security agents.


These abuses have been recorded against human rights leaders, opposition members, artists, and civil society leaders.


While government has admitted to some of these human rights abuses occurring such as abductions, it continues to blame these acts on a ‘third force’ bent on tarnishing its image.


“We are deeply troubled by the Zimbabwean government’s use of state-sanctioned violence against peaceful protesters, and civil society, as well as against labor leaders and members of the opposition leaders in Zimbabwe,” Pompeo said.


“We urge the government to stop the violence, investigate, and hold accountable officials responsible for human rights violations and abuses in Zimbabwe,” the statement said.


The statement by Pompeo is the second this year after the United States slapped sanctions on Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania, Anselem Sanyatwe, and his wife, in August over his former role as head of the military's presidential guard.


In his former role, Sanyatwe ordered soldiers onto the streets to quell post-election protests on August 1, 2018, that turned bloody, resulting in six civilian deaths.


Pompeo said the US placed sanctions on persons who engaged in corruption, violated human rights, and undermined democratic institutions or processes.


“State-sanctioned violence creates a culture of impunity for human rights abusers. The United States continues to support the Zimbabwean people in need, especially through humanitarian and health assistance,” he said.


“We will continue to press the government of Zimbabwe to implement necessary political and economic reforms to provide Zimbabwean citizens the prosperity, security, and well-being they deserve.”






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