Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned South Sudanese First Vice President Taban Deng Gai (Deng) for his role in serious human rights abuses.
The United States designated Deng pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. This decision underscores the U.S. government’s continuing commitment to promote and protect human rights globally and reflects our determination to promote accountability of all those who seek to undermine the South Sudanese peace process.
Deng was sanctioned for his involvement in the disappearance and reported deaths of two human rights activists in 2017. Deng has acted on South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s behalf to divide and sow distrust, extend the conflict in South Sudan, and impede the reconciliation and peace process. Disappearances and extrajudicial killings of political opposition and civil society actors whose views differ with the ruling regime are actions designed to silence dissent and enforce the political status quo. Such human rights violations and abuses curtail the political space needed for the full implementation of a durable peace in South Sudan.
January 1, 2020 marked the halfway point of the most recent extension to form an inclusive unity government. We urge the Government of South Sudan and opposition leaders to act now to distance themselves from peace process spoilers and to prioritize the will of the South Sudanese people for peace.