FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2019
USCIRF Applauds Sanctions on Salah Gosh for Gross Human Rights Violations
WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of State publicly designated Salah Abdalla Mohamed Mohamed Salih (Salah Gosh) of Sudan and his wife and daughter under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, making them ineligible for entry into the United States. As former director of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Gosh was responsible for the agency’s wide range of human rights abuses, including the repression of religious minorities. In response to this week’s action by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued the following statement:
“USCIRF has long reported on the violations of religious freedom conducted by Sudan’s NISS authorities. Under the leadership of the notorious Salah Gosh, Sudan has targeted Christians, Muslim minority groups, non-religious and countless others in Sudan who sought to exercise their fundamental freedoms,” said USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins. “They have engaged in abusive practices with impunity for years, such as repeatedly arresting, harassing and detaining church leaders, often without cause or charge. This visa ban sends a strong signal. The United States government will put its authorized powers to use, holding leaders accountable who abuse or deny the fundamental human right of religious freedom. We will continue to urge the administration to use such effective tools and sanction on other senior Sudanese officials responsible for human rights violations.”
“We commend the State Department for naming Gosh and highlighting some of his egregious crimes – including torture– while he directed the NISS. We support the Sudanese people’s efforts to achieve justice and a peaceful transition to a civilian-led government,” said Commissioner Anurima Bhargava.
As Sudan transitions from years of oppressive military rule to a civilian-led government, justice and reconciliation around religious freedom violations will also be essential. Since 1999, USCIRF has recommended Sudan be designated a Country of Particular Concern for its restrictions on religious freedom. USCIRF has also annually recommended increased accountability for persons engaging in violations of religious freedom, such as attacking houses of worship or discriminating against individuals based on their religious affiliation. Targeted tools, such as the visa denials under section 604(a) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) and the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act should also be put to use to block entry to the United States and to seize the assets of those individuals who continue to violate human rights. USCIRF last traveled to Sudan in May 2018.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion or belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Kellie Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-703-898-6554.