The White House has announced that Joe Biden has decided to withdraw access to certain trade privileges for the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger and Uganda, accusing them of attacks on democracy and human rights.
The US President has notified Congress that he is removing four states from the list of sub-Saharan African countries that will benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“Gross violations of human rights”
The 2000 text allows African countries to export many goods to the US duty-free. However, this preferential trade treatment is subject to a series of conditions based on political pluralism, human rights and the rule of law, and the fight against corruption.
In a letter to Congress, Joe Biden writes that the Central African government has committed “gross human rights abuses” and has made “no progress on workers’ rights, the rule of law, and political pluralism.”
The US president criticized Niger and Gabon for not respecting political pluralism or the rule of law, and accused Uganda of human rights abuses. Niger and Gabon have experienced coups this year.
The Central African Republic, the second least developed country in the world according to the UN, has been experiencing a deadly civil war since 2013, which has decreased in intensity since 2018. Uganda, for its part, has come under fire from UN criticism. And since repressive laws against LGBTQ+ people took effect in many Western countries this year.
The Central African Republic is still in the grip of insurgency: an attack on a village kills 13 civilians
Coup in Gabon: Soldiers declare ‘regime is over’, president calls on friends to ‘make noise’
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