US to announce sanctions next week marking Biden's democracy summit

Gathering is test of president's assertion that he would return US to global leadership to confront authoritarianism

US President Joe Biden will convene a virtual "Summit for Democracy" next week to which heads of state, civil society, philanthropy, and the private sector are invited. AFP

The Treasury Department will impose a series of sanctions next week to mark the US Summit for Democracy, taking aim at those engaged in corruption, serious human rights abuses and who undermine democracy, among others, a Treasury Department representative said on Friday.

The Treasury declined to provide specifics on those facing sanctions. The plans were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The department will also announce proposals designed to close loopholes that allow corrupt officials to exploit the real estate market and address gaps in the corporate transparency network that allow corruption to flourish and illicit proceeds to flow into the US, the representative said.

"Treasury will take a series of actions to designate individuals who are engaged in malign activities that undermine democracy and democratic institutions around the world including corruption, repression, organised crime and serious human rights abuse," the representative said.

The gathering next week is a test of President Joe Biden's assertion, announced in his first foreign policy address in office in February, that he would return the US to global leadership to confront authoritarian forces led by China and Russia.

Rights groups question if Mr Biden's conference can push those world leaders who are invited, some accused of having authoritarian tendencies, to take meaningful action.

There are 110 participants on the State Department's invitation list for the virtual event on December 9 and 10, which aims to help stop democratic backsliding and the erosion of rights and freedoms worldwide.

The list does not include China or Russia.

Updated: December 3rd 2021, 11:44 PM