EU targets human rights abusers of women, girls in new sanctions package

EU targets human rights abusers of women, girls in new sanctions package

 The European Union has adopted a sanctions package targeting nine people, including several Russians, and three entities accused of committing human rights abuses against women.

The package was agreed to by the union’s 27 member states on Tuesday, a day ahead of International Women’s Day.

“No matter where it happens, we will combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women,” Josep Borrell, the union’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a statement.

“With today’s decision, we are enhancing efforts to counter sexual and gender-based violence, to ensure that those responsible are fully accountable for their actions, and to combat impunity.”

Among those on the list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday was Maj. Gen. Nikolay Anatolevich Kuznetsov, a member of the Russian armed forces.

The EU says his unit, which took park in the illegal invasion of Ukraine, “participated in acts of sexual violence and rape” in the European country in March and April of last year.

Col. Ramil Rakhmatulovich Ibatullin, who served in the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Donbas region prior to the war and took part in the invasion, was also hit with sanctions.

The EU said the division under his command in March of last year took part in the Chernihiv and Kyiv offensives, during which “members of his division committed acts of sexual and gender-based violence against the Ukrainian civilian population.”

After these allegations became known, Ibatullin was promoted, it said.

According to the EU, the scale and severity of the acts of sexual violence committed against women and girls in Ukraine is indicative of a systematic plan, evidence that not only were Russian commanders aware such crimes were being committed but encouraging or even ordering those under their command to commit them.

The EU also hit police in Russia, including Lt. Col. Alexander Georgievich Fedorinov, the commanding officer of the Moscow Police Station, for the arbitrary detention and torture of female anti-war protesters.

In Afghanistan, acting Taliban minister for higher education Neda Mohammad Nadeem and acting Taliban minister for the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice Sheikh Muhammad Khalid Hanafi were sanctioned over decrees that banned women from higher education and segregated public spaces by gender.

Two South Sudanese militia commanders Gatluak Nyang Hoth and Gordon Koang Biel were also sanctioned for the “widespread and systematic use of sexual violence as a war tactic” and having “instrumentalized it as a reward and entitlement for men” under their control.

EU also sanctioned Myanmar Maj. Gen. Toe Ui, deputy minister of home affairs.

Three entities including Iran’s Qarchak Prison, the Syrian Republican Guard and Myanmar’s Office of the Chief of Military Security Affairs were also sanctioned.

“The growing oppression globally on women and girls and attacks on their human rights are alarming,” Borrell said Tuesday in a joint statement with the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU.

“We stand by women in Iran, whose freedoms are systematically restricted; and those in Afghanistan, where the Taliban are trying to erase women and girls’ presence from public space, as well as everywhere else in the world where women’s fundamental rights and freedoms are being threatened or denied,” they said.

Those listed Tuesday will be subjected to asset freezes and travel bans to the EU, while those in the EU region will be barred from making fund available to them, either directly or indirectly.

Netherland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra said the sanctions package was the first time the EU has stood up for victims of sexual violence in such a manner.

“By imposing these sanctions, we’re sending a clear message to perpetrators that they won’t get away with their crimes,” he said in a statement. “These horrific, inhuman acts have consequences.

“This is also a message to the victims: the EU will support you, wherever you are in the world.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *