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Promoting and advancing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms continues to be a top priority for the United States.  On this Human Rights Day, the United States proudly reaffirms its commitment to using every appropriate tool and authority available to draw attention to violations and abuses of human rights no matter where or when they occur, and to promote accountability for those responsible for those violations and abuses.

Today, the Department is announcing the public designation of 17 officials of foreign governments and their immediate family members under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2020, as carried forward by the Continuing Appropriations Act 2021, due to the officials’ involvement in gross violations of human rights.  Section 7031(c) provides that in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in a gross violation of human rights or significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are to be designated publicly or privately and are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Department of State is designating José Antonio Almendáriz Rivas for his involvement in a gross violation of human rights, namely, the extrajudicial killing of Spanish national Dr. Begoña García de Arandigoyen on September 10, 1990 in El Salvador.  This action also applies to his immediate family members.  Almendariz Rivas joins 13 other Salvadorans recently designated under 7031c for their participation in gross violations of human rights.  The United States condemns all human rights abuses perpetrated by both sides of the brutal civil war in El Salvador, including those committed by governmental and non-governmental actors.  Today’s actions underscore our support for human rights and our commitment to justice for victims and promoting accountability for perpetrators in the service of a just and lasting peace in El Salvador.

The State Department is also designating Devon Orlando Bernard, Reneto DeCordiva Adams, Patrick Anthony Coke, Shayne St Aubyn Lyons, Leford Gordon, and Roderick Anthony Collier for their involvement in gross violations in human rights in Jamaica.  In their capacity as officers in the Jamaican Constabulary Force Crime Management Unit, these individuals were involved in the extrajudicial killings of four people on May 7, 2003.  Immediate family members of these officers are also covered by this designation.  The United States values our close partnership with the Jamaican government and people, and today’s actions underscore our support for human rights and our commitment to promoting accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations in Jamaica and around the world.

Finally, the State Department is designating Chief Huang Yuanxiong of the Xiamen Public Security Bureau Wucun Police Station for his involvement in gross violations of human rights in Xiamen, China.  Huang is associated with particularly severe violations of religious freedom of Falun Gong practitioners, namely his involvement in the detention and interrogation of Falun Gong practitioners for practicing their beliefs.  Today’s action also applies to Mr. Huang’s spouse.  The world cannot stand idly by as the PRC government perpetrates horrific and systematic abuses against people in China, including violating the internationally recognized right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief.

These designations underscore our support for human rights and the promotion of accountability for gross violators of human rights.  We are proud to be a leader in championing human rights across the globe, thereby honoring the vision of our founders and expressing the time-honored American aspiration for all people to be free.

U.S. Department of State

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