US Visa restriction for undermining in democracy in SL

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Antony Blinken,US Foreign Secretary

The United States has placed visa restriction on persons responsible for undermining democracy in Sierra Leone, hinging the outcome of the June 24th general elections in which President Bio was declared winner.

A statement issued by the United States Foreign Secretary, Antony J.Blinken states that: “The United States is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Sierra Leone and around the world.  Today, I am 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.”

Although the statement didn’t indicate names of those that will suffer the restriction, but it states that, “Under this 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 restriction took into consideration a broad range of persons that would be affected. “Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. 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 this policy,” the statement reads.

While many are jittery that the restrictions would apply to everyone, the statement allayed their fears that, the restriction policy announced will apply to specific individuals and is not directed at the Sierra Leonean people.

“This 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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