Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting With Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino: ‎

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defense Didier Reynders today in Washington. January marked the start of Belgium’s sixth term on the UN Security Council, and the two discussed critical areas for global security cooperation, including burden sharing, next steps on the political process in Venezuela, threats posed by China and Iran, and Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty.

The Bureau Of Overseas Buildings Operations Announces The Construction Award For The U.S. Chancery Major Rehabilitation In Copenhagen, Denmark

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The Department of State has awarded the construction contract for a major rehabilitation of the U.S. Embassy Chancery in Copenhagen, Denmark to Facilities Development Corporation of Reston, Virginia. The architect is Beyer Blinder Belle of Washington, DC.

OBO’s mission is to provide safe, secure, and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to host nations and support our staff in achieving U.S. foreign policy objectives. These facilities represent U.S. values and the best in U.S. architecture, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, construction execution, and resiliency.

For further information, please contact Christine Foushee at FousheeCT@state.gov, or visit www.state.gov/obo.

Africa: Public Designation Of, And Visa Restrictions Placed On, Multiple Officials Of The Democratic Republic Of The Congo Due To Involvement In Significant Corruption, Human Rights Violations Or Abuses, Or Undermining Of Democracy

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States stands with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) following that country’s historic transfer of power. The elections reflect the desire of the people of the D.R.C. for change and accountable government institutions. However, there are legitimate concerns over the conduct and transparency of the electoral process.

The Secretary of State is publicly designating, due to their involvement in significant corruption relating to the electoral process, the following individuals: Mr. Corneille Nangaa, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (D.R.C.) National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI); Mr. Norbert Basengezi Katintima, Vice President of CENI; Mr. Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi, Advisor to the President of CENI; Mr. Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, President of the D.R.C.’s National Assembly; and Mr. Benoit Lwamba Bindu, President of the D.R.C.’s Constitutional Court. This public designation is being made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2019, (Div. F, P.L. 116-6-).

Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Secretary of State is also imposing visa restrictions on election officials as well as military and government officials believed to be responsible for, complicit in, or to have engaged in human rights violations or abuses or undermining of the democratic process in the D.R.C.

These individuals enriched themselves through corruption, or directed or oversaw violence against people exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They operated with impunity at the expense of the Congolese people and showed a blatant disregard for democratic principles and human rights.

The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain officials and not directed at the Congolese people or the newly elected government. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the new D.R.C. government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy and accountability, and respect for human rights.

For more information, please contact AF-Press@state.gov.

Fashion Industry Unites To Tackle Slavery And Trafficking In Supply Chains

Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Minister Victoria Atkins has urged businesses and governments to come together to tackle the “global and complex” scourge of modern slavery and human trafficking

Home Office

Home Office

Ahead of Paris Fashion Week, the minister spoke at the Paris Supply Chains Conference today (Friday 22 February), where representatives from governments, the fashion industry, textiles and civil society came together to discuss measures businesses should take to eradicate modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains.

The minister highlighted how UK’s world leading Modern Slavery Act has helped transform business culture. She praised brands for changing their purchasing practices to protect vulnerable workers and innovative start-ups which are increasing transparency in the sector.

While recognising the progress that many responsible businesses are making the minister called on the industry to step up their action and increase their vigilance to understand the risks and intervene where necessary.

Both the UK and France have introduced transparency legislation to tackle forced labour in global supply chains and the conference provided a valuable opportunity to share best practice in tackling this insidious crime. The minister welcomed the French government’s determination to stamp out modern slavery and called for continued collaboration to speed up eliminating this abhorrent crime.

In her speech Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Minister Victoria Atkins said:

I am proud to say that the UK is a world-leader in tackling slavery. In 2015, we introduced the landmark Modern Slavery Act to tackle slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking.

As we meet in Paris, I am also proud to say that the French government stands alongside us in their determination to eliminate human trafficking and labour exploitation.

Since legislation was introduced on both sides of the channel we have seen progress made, however the scale of the challenge means that it can only be tackled by government, business and civil society working together.

In addition to the ground breaking Modern Slavery Act, the government has also:

  • launched the “Principles to Combat Human Trafficking in Global Supply Chains” with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at the UN General Assembly in September 2018
  • written to 17,000 businesses in the UK about their obligations to publish what they are doing to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains, with the Home Office planning to name non-compliant companies after the end of the financial year
  • pledged to publish its own transparency statement in 2019
  • launched the “Business Against Slavery Forum” to bring together CEOs of some of the world’s largest organisations to share best practice to tackle modern slavery

The minister also welcomed the appointment of Sara Thornton, who was today announced as the new Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

Secretary Pompeo’s Phone Call With Japanese Foreign Minister Kono

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The below is attributable to Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino: ‎

On February 21, Secretary Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Japanese Foreign Minister Kono to discuss next steps on D.P.R.K. engagement. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Kono reaffirmed their shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearization of the D.P.R.K. and to maintaining our close coordination. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Kono affirmed the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance, and committed to strengthening trilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea on our unified approach toward the D.P.R.K. and other shared challenges.

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