Britain sanctions Myanmar coup leaders over ‘human rights violations’


The UK government imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s ruling generals on Thursday for toppling the civilian-led government, putting in place travel bans and asset freezes on key figures in the military regime in response to human rights violations.

The UK’s new sanctions are against three members of the Myanmar military: the minister of defence, Mya Tun Oo, the minister for home affairs, Soe Htut and deputy minister for home affairs, Than Hlaing.

“Myanmar’s military and police have committed serious human rights violations, including violating the right to life, the right to freedom of assembly, the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to freedom of expression,” a UK government statement said.

The UK already has sanctions in place against 16 other individuals from the Myanmar military.

In addition, further safeguards have also been put in place to prevent UK aid money indirectly supporting the military government.

It comes after Myanmar’s elected leader Ms. Suu Kyi and members of her government were detained as the military took over in a coup at the start of this month.

The UK has repeatedly called for the release of Ms. Suu Kyi, who has been kept under house arrest and charged with minor offences relating to the alleged importation of walkie-talkies without the proper licence and for shaking hands during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The UK condemns the military coup and the arbitrary detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political figures,” Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, said.

“We, alongside our international allies will hold the Myanmar military to account for their violations of human rights and pursue justice for the Myanmar people.”

Canada also announced sanctions against nine Myanmar military officials on Thursday, saying the coup has led to mass detentions, the use of force and restrictions to democratic freedoms.

“We work alongside our international partners who call for the restoration of the democratically-elected government,” Marc Garneau, the country’s foreign minister, said.

He also called for the release of those “unjustly detained in the military takeover.”

The new sanctions were announced as protesters returned to the streets of Myanmar on Thursday after a night of armed intimidation by security forces in Mandalay, the country’s second biggest city.

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, repeated his call for the release of Ms. Suu Kyi and called fresh charges brought against her “fabricated.”

Mr. Johnson tweeted: “We stand with the people of Myanmar and will ensure those responsible for this coup are held to account.”

Protesters have turned out in droves since the coup was carried out, defying an order banning gatherings of five or more people to demand the return of democracy.

Washington imposed new sanctions on the Myanmar military last week and has urged other UN members to follow suit. (Source: The Independent)