Washington, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has revealed that the United States will impose visa restrictions on individuals believed to be “undermining democracy” in Liberia as the country gears up for its upcoming elections in October.
In a statement released by the U.S. State Department, Secretary Blinken clarified that the visa restriction policy is specifically targeted at certain individuals and not intended to affect the Liberian people or the government as a whole.
“The United States is committed to supporting and advancing democracy in Liberia 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 those undermining democracy in Liberia. This policy will take effect in advance of the upcoming election,” Blinken stated.
The policy, as outlined by the Secretary of State, aims to pursue visa restrictions against individuals believed to be involved in activities that undermine democracy in Liberia. These activities include manipulating or rigging the electoral process, employing violence to suppress people’s rights to freedom of association and peaceful assembly, implementing measures to obstruct political parties, voters, civil society, or the media from expressing their views, or engaging in any other actions designed to improperly influence the outcome of an election. Additionally, certain family members of such individuals may also be subject to these restrictions.
Furthermore, Secretary Blinken emphasized that individuals found to be undermining democracy in Liberia, both leading up to and following the 2023 elections, could be deemed ineligible for U.S. visas under this new policy.
Secretary Blinken clarified that the decision to impose these restrictions underscores the United States’ commitment to support the aspirations of Liberians for free and fair elections, which accurately represent the will of the people and strengthen democracy and the rule of law.