New US sanctions against Myanmar military in Rohingya crisis

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The US broadened its sanctions against Myanmar on August 17, blacklisting four commanders and two units of security forces for their alleged role in violent campaigns against Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

The sanctions against Myanmar will freeze the US assets of the military officials and prohibit US citizens and businesses from engaging in business with them. The penalties appear narrowly targeted towards individuals and units who are said to have conducted specific acts of violence in a civil war that has seen hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees flee the country.

Myanmar security forces have engaged in ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual assault, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses, said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Department undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“Treasury is sanctioning units and leaders overseeing this horrific behaviour as part of a broader US government strategy to hold accountable those responsible for such wide-scale human suffering,” Mandelker said.

Those sanctioned include Aung Kyaw Zaw, who oversaw military and border police operations that resulted in the death of thousands of people in what the US government calls an ethnic cleansing; Khin Maung Soe, who oversaw security forces who reportedly beat, sexually assaulted and killed dozens of people; Thura San Lwin, whose subordinates are accused of extrajudicial killings; and Khin Hlaing, whose troops are accused of using villagers as human shields.

US officials have warned of the possible sanctions for months, with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying last year that the US would “pursue accountability through US law, including possible targeted sanctions”.

However, US decision could drive the Myanmar government closer to China. The Chinese-backed Myanmar’s military junta for over two decades as the West applied sanctions on the government, and is now seeking to build an economic corridor stretching from landlocked Yunnan province to the Bay of Bengal.

Myanmar’s unofficial leader Aung San Suu Kyi has seen her reputation tarnished by the Rohingya crisis. She has come under fire for not speaking out more forcefully against the violence and for questioning reports of government and Buddhist attacks against the Rohingya and burned villages.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The US broadened its sanctions against Myanmar on August 17, blacklisting four commanders and two units of security forces for their alleged role in violent campaigns against Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The US broadened its sanctions against Myanmar on August 17, blacklisting four commanders and two units of security forces for their alleged role in violent campaigns against Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

The sanctions against Myanmar will freeze the US assets of the military officials and prohibit US citizens and businesses from engaging in business with them. The penalties appear narrowly targeted towards individuals and units who are said to have conducted specific acts of violence in a civil war that has seen hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees flee the country.

Myanmar security forces have engaged in ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual assault, extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses, said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Department undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“Treasury is sanctioning units and leaders overseeing this horrific behaviour as part of a broader US government strategy to hold accountable those responsible for such wide-scale human suffering,” Mandelker said.

Those sanctioned include Aung Kyaw Zaw, who oversaw military and border police operations that resulted in the death of thousands of people in what the US government calls an ethnic cleansing; Khin Maung Soe, who oversaw security forces who reportedly beat, sexually assaulted and killed dozens of people; Thura San Lwin, whose subordinates are accused of extrajudicial killings; and Khin Hlaing, whose troops are accused of using villagers as human shields.

US officials have warned of the possible sanctions for months, with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying last year that the US would “pursue accountability through US law, including possible targeted sanctions”.

However, US decision could drive the Myanmar government closer to China. The Chinese-backed Myanmar’s military junta for over two decades as the West applied sanctions on the government, and is now seeking to build an economic corridor stretching from landlocked Yunnan province to the Bay of Bengal.

Myanmar’s unofficial leader Aung San Suu Kyi has seen her reputation tarnished by the Rohingya crisis. She has come under fire for not speaking out more forcefully against the violence and for questioning reports of government and Buddhist attacks against the Rohingya and burned villages.

 

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