Washington — President Obama signed an executive order July 20 that gives the U.S. Treasury Department expanded authority to sanction individuals and entities that contribute to the persistence of violence in Somalia.
The order gives explicit authority to the Treasury Department to sanction individuals, wherever they may be located, who are acting to misappropriate Somali public assets, the department said in a press release. It is also aimed at political or military leaders who are recruiting or using children as soldiers, as well as those who are responsible for committing certain acts of violence against Somali civilians, including acts of sexual and gender-based violence.
"By expanding our ability to impose sanctions on those engaged in despicable acts of violence in Somalia, the United States is once again demonstrating its full support for the Somali people," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "We are also taking aim, in coordination with the international community, to cut off a key source of revenue for al-Shabaab," a Somali terrorist group.
To implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036, adopted unanimously on February 22, the executive order prohibits the importation of charcoal from Somalia into the United States and authorizes the Treasury Department, in consultation with the State Department, to sanction people who are importing or exporting charcoal from Somalia. Internationally, the sale of charcoal is a significant revenue source for al-Shabaab, the Treasury Department said.
In addition to being a significant revenue stream for al-Shabaab, the production of charcoal leads to environmental degradation that has contributed to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, the department said.