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Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539
Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539

UK Sanctions Target Sexual Violence, Corruption & Human Rights

Author: Dr. Angelika Hellweger  19 December 2022

Angelika Hellweger of Rahman Ravelli details the UK’s most recent sanctions.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced that, from this month onwards, the UK would start to sanction those accused of committing sexual violence in conflict, in an attempt to clamp down on the frequency of the practice. In at least 18 conflicts across the globe rape is being used a weapon of war, including in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria and South Sudan.

The UK has announced sanctions that will target a total of 30 individuals and entities that the government believes are responsible for conflict-related sexual violence around the world, corruption or human rights violations. These include targets from 11 countries across seven sanctions regimes – the most that the UK has ever brought together in one package.

The package includes commissioners accused of mobilising troops to rape civilians in South Sudan and Mali and infantry divisions in Myanmar who have been sanctioned for the use of sexual violence. Furthermore, it designates eight individuals under the UK’s Global Human Rights regime, which allows the UK to stop those involved in serious human rights abuses and violations from entering the country, moving money through UK banks or profiting from the UK economy.

The eight targeted are:

  • A cleric from Pakistan responsible for forced conversions and marriages of girls and women from religious minorities.
  • A former Inspector General of Police in Uganda who oversaw torture and other inhumane treatment and punishment.
  • A mayor and deputy mayor in Nicaragua that supported human rights violations.
  • A Russian Federal Security Service officer and a senior detective, both based in Crimea, who tortured a Ukrainian in 2015.
  • Two Russian officials who obstructed complaints of torture, one of which used torture to extract testimony.

The UK is targeting 10 Iranian officials connected to the country’s judicial and prison system, who are accused of human rights violations. A Russian colonel is also sanctioned for his role as the commander of the 90th Tank Division, which has been on the front line since Russia began its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Those sanctioned for corruption are a Serbian-based arms dealer accused of bribing another country’s chief prosecutor, a senior Moldovan allegedly involved in fraud and bribery, a corrupt Moldovan former politician, a Serbian linked to wrongdoing involving state contracts, and a businessman who is alleged to have misappropriated Kosovo state funds.

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Dr. Angelika Hellweger

Legal Director

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Angelika is a specialist in international, high-level economic crime investigations and large-scale commercial disputes. She has widely-recognised expertise in representing corporates and conglomerates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and United States.

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