US Secretary of State Slams Visa Restriction on those Undermining Democracy

In Sierra Leone....

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

In a Press Statement dated 31st August, 2023, the US Government Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, has stated that the  United States is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Sierra Leone and around the world.

He continued by adding that on the date of  the release of the aforementioned  Press Statement, he is  announcing a new visa restriction policy under Section 212(a)(3)C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for undermining the democratic process in the June 2023 Sierra Leone election.

According to him, under that policy, the United States will pursue visa restrictions for those believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Sierra Leone, including through the manipulation or rigging of the electoral process; intimidation of voters, election observers, or civil society organizations through threats or acts of physical violence; or the abuse or violation of related human rights in Sierra Leone.

The US Secretary of State categorically pointed out that family members of such persons may also be subject to those restrictions.  He stressed that persons who undermine the democratic process in Sierra Leone—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Sierra Leone’s 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under the policy.

He also clarified that the visa restriction policy announced  will apply to specific individuals and is not directed at the Sierra Leonean people.

Antony J. Blinken concluded by maintaining that the decision reflects the commitment of the United States to support Sierra Leoneans’ aspirations to have free and fair elections that demonstrate the will of the people and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.


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