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Rep. Bass Supports Sanctions on Former Central African Republic Leaders

Central African Republic
Rep. Karen Bass supported sanctions issued against five individuals of the Central African Republic. (Thinkstock)

On May 13, President Barack Obama reportedly issued an executive order that authorized sanctions to be placed upon five individuals in the Central African Republic. The sanctions were issued for their reported role in sectarian violence in the landlocked country in the middle of the African continent.

The following day, Congresswoman Karen Bass – whose 37th District includes Century City, Cheviot Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, and West Los Angeles – issued a statement in support of Obama’s actions.

“I fully support President Obama’s decision today to freeze assets and ban travel for Central African Republic’s (CAR) former presidents Francois Bozize and Michel Djotodia, Seleka General and former Minister of Public Security Noureddine Adam, leader of an ex-Seleka rebel group Abdoulaye Miskine, and anti-Balaka political coordinator Levi Yakite,” Bass, who is a ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, stated. “These sanctions follow the unanimous decision by the United Nations Security Council to sanction individuals for undermining peace and fueling violence in the CAR.”

Bass based her support on a recent visit to Central African Republic.

“Last month I traveled to the CAR as part of a Presidential Delegation to the African Continent, and I saw firsthand the impact of the violence that has plagued the CAR for far too long,” Bass stated. “These attacks have targeted Central Africans of all faiths, and I commend President Obama, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, and United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power for their leadership in working for peace on the African continent by imposing real consequences to those responsible for the violence.”

In a letter from Obama to the Speaker of the House, the President stated the sanctions are specifically limited to the five individuals listed in the executive order.

“The order does not target the entire country of the Central African Republic, but rather is intended to target those who threaten the peace, security, or stability of the Central African Republic or who undermine democratic processes or institutions in the Central African Republic,” Obama stated. “The order blocks the property and interests in property of persons listed in an Annex to the order.”

According to NPR, shortly before Obama issued the sanctions a 26-year-old photojournalist was confirmed by the French government as killed while covering the conflict in Central African Republic.

According to the White House’s press secretary, an armed rebellion in 2012 led to “instability, lawlessness, and anarchy” in the Central African Republic. By 2013, the Central African Republic government was overthrown, a statement from the White House press secretary stated.

“Escalating violence and human rights abuses set the stage for the eruption of sectarian conflict by December 2013. Communities that have lived together peacefully for generations are being torn apart along sectarian lines,” the White House statement read. “More than 2.5 million of the country’s 4.6 million people need humanitarian assistance. Approximately one million people have been displaced.”

Attacks have been provoked or instigated by Christian and Muslim militias since violence began in 2012.

In January, the United Nations Security Council unanimously voted to “establish a sanctions regime against those responsible for instability and atrocities in the CAR,” according to the White House.

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