The European Union has adopted sanctions against nine individuals and three entities responsible for sexual violence and violations of women’s rights in six countries - Afghanistan, Russia, South Sudan, Burma, Iran, Syria - diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.
The announcement of the sanctions — a first in the EU targeting perpetrators of sexual violence — comes on the eve of International Women’s Day.
"By imposing these sanctions, we're sending a clear message to perpetrators that they won't get away with their crimes," said Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra.
The list was due to be published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday.
According to a document obtained by French news agency AFP, those sanctioned include two Taliban officials: higher education minister Neda Mohammad Nadeem, responsible for the widespread violation of women’s right to education, and the minister for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice, Mohammad Khalid Hanafi.
Two Moscow police officials are on the list, found guilty of arbitrary arrests and torture, along with two senior Russian military officials, for sexual violence and rape committed in Ukraine in March and April 2022.
Two pro-government militia leaders in South Sudan are sanctioned for systematic use of sexual violence as a tactic of war.
Burma’s deputy interior minister, Toe Ui, is targeted for his past role as a senior official in the administration of the country’s detention centres, where systematic sexual violence was committed.
Three entities are sanctioned: Iran’s Qarchak women’s prison, the Syrian Republican Guard, and OCMSA, the military office that oversees detention and interrogation centres in Burma.