In the absence of sanctions from the United Nations (UN) for Russian and Chinese obstruction, the United States and the United Kingdom announced, Monday, May 17, new sanctions against Burmese officials in the origin of the military coup in Burma.
1er February, the Burmese army toppled the de facto civilian government leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, abruptly ending a ten-year democratic hiatus. Since then, it has bloodily suppressed the almost daily demonstrations, led by young people eager for freedom, a great user of social networks and new technologies.
London notably announced sanctions targeting the financial interests of the military, imposing measures on a state-controlled gemstone company. These sanctions, against Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE), “Deprive the junta of a key source of funding”, the gemstone trade amounting to billions of dollars, the British Foreign Office said in a statement.
“The military junta in Burma continues to crush democracy and attack its own people with brutal ferocityBritish Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said. We are working with our allies to impose sanctions that limit the junta’s access to funding sources and to promote the return of democracy. “
These sanctions, decided with the United States and Canada and which involve an asset freeze, follow recent meetings of the G7 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The UK has already sanctioned several junta officials, including the army’s commander-in-chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, for their role in the military coup.
Washington sanctions central bank governor
The United States, which already imposed sanctions on MGE last month, announced on Monday new measures against thirteen Burmese officials, including Ethnic Affairs Minister Tun Aung Myint, Border Minister Tun Tun Naung, and Central Bank Governor Than Nyein, according to a statement from the US Treasury.
It is “Key members of the Burmese military regime, which violently represses the pro-democracy movement in the country and is responsible for the violent and murderous attacks perpetrated against the Burmese people, including the murder of children”, justified the Treasury.
Also listen In Burma, the people against the army
Concretely, the Treasury freezes all “Property and interest in property” persons listed on Monday who are in the United States, or who are in the possession or control of American persons. “The Burmese army continues to commit human rights violations and oppress the Burmese people”, added Joe Biden’s administration, stressing that these sanctions were not aimed at the Burmese people.
“Put pressure” on the army
“Today’s action demonstrates the United States’ commitment to work with our international partners to put pressure on the Burmese army and promote accountability for those responsible for the coup d’état and the ongoing violence”Andrea Gacki, the head of the treasury secretariat that oversees the sanctions programs, said in the statement.
The US Treasury had already taken sanctions in April, in particular against public companies, including a state company producing precious stones. In March, the Biden administration also suspended a trade deal.