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U.S sanctions FVP Deng

By: Manyuon Mayen Manyuon

The United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned the First Vice President Taban Deng Gai for an alleged involvement in human rights abuses, including the disappearance and deaths of civilians. 

The statement said, “Deng has acted to divide and sow distrust within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) and broader Nuer community, which has extended the conflict in South Sudan and deteriorated the reconciliation and peace process. The Government of South Sudan’s refusal to create political space for dissenting voices — from opposition parties, ethnic groups, civil society, or media — has been a key factor in the country’s inability to implement a peace agreement and ongoing acts of violence against civilians.”

“Taban Deng Gai’s attempt to silence the opposition party is derailing the country’s ability to implement a peace agreement,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich. “The United States calls on all nations to exclude from the international financial system those who jeopardize South Sudan’s future.”

This action is pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption. 

The statement said as First Vice President, Deng reportedly arranged and directed the disappearance and deaths of human rights lawyer Samuel Dong Luak (Dong) and SPLM-IO member Aggrey Idry (Aggrey).  Deng directed these actions in order to solidify his position within President Kiir’s government and to intimidate members of the SPLM-IO. The designation of Deng follows the December 10, 2019, designations of five South Sudanese individuals who were also involved in the disappearance and reported deaths of Dong and Aggrey.

However, on Thursday, theFirst Vice President Taban Deng Gai described the U.S sanctions against him as “baseless and unfounded.” 

He disputed the allegations of human rights violations and sanctions imposed on him by the U.S Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Deng said he has always dedicated his life to working for the sovereignty of South Sudan and the independence of its people since 1983 up to date.

“I deeply regret those baseless and unfounded allegations. I have been wrongly accused of serious human rights violations and sanctions. I wish to assure the International community and all the above people of South Sudan, that my life has always been dedicated to building of peaceful and prosperous South Sudan,” the statement signed by FVP Deng read.

“Upon establishment of the Republic of South Sudan, I have worked tirelessly to forge the necessary alliances to create a path to peace and prosperity, that is the reason why I continue to serve as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan,” Gen. Gai’s statement added.

He pledged to continue working with the United States and the International Community at large to demonstrate his commitment and prove the nature of the allegations made towards him.

Amb. Adel Sandrai, who read an official statement of the FVP Office on Thursday, said that the FVP Deng contributed to create necessary alliances to ensure South Sudan remains in peace on the path to prosperity.

“In charging his duties as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, he dedicated and committed himself to working for the Unity and peaceful coexistence among the people of South Sudan to secure a future for them,”

Amb. Sandrai said that despite the sanction imposed on Gen Gai, he said that the FVP will continue to collaborate with U.S and the International Community to prove the unfounded nature of the allegations.

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