We continue to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to bring home U.S. nationals held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. Today, the President signed a new executive order (E.O.), which builds on the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act, to provide the U.S. government expanded tools to deter and disrupt hostage-taking and wrongful detentions.
When Americans are taken captive abroad, we must do everything in our power to secure their release. The President, National Security Advisor Sullivan, and I have spoken to families who are meeting the extraordinary challenge of advocating for a loved one held captive. I am grateful for their partnership, and we are all humbled by their courage. This E.O. prioritizes U.S. government support for families and instructs U.S. officials to expeditiously share relevant information and strategies, as appropriate, for securing their loved one’s release.
The sanctions authority included in this E.O. enables the United States to impose financial and travel sanctions on those who are responsible for unjustly holding U.S. nationals, whether their captor is a terrorist network or a state actor.
In a parallel effort, the State Department is also introducing a new risk indicator to our Travel Advisories – the “D” indicator. This new indicator warns U.S. citizens of the risk of wrongful detention by a foreign government. We are adding this indicator to highlight the elevated risk of wrongful detention in particular countries that have regularly engaged in this practice.
The U.S. Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. nationals overseas. Today’s E.O. and “D” indicator demonstrate that commitment, and we will continue to be relentless in our efforts to reunite Americans who are held hostage or wrongfully detained with their loved ones.