US backs Canadian, EU sanctions on Myanmar military

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GB news 24 desk//

The United States today expressed its strong support to Canadian and European Union (EU) sanctions on seven senior Myanmar
military officials who were behind the brutal military actions to drive out ethnic minority Rohingyas from the country.

“Canada and our European Union partners took action this week to continue the promotion of accountability for the atrocities in Burma (Myanmar),” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press statement.

She added: “We strongly support these actions”.

Canada and the EU on Monday slapped the simultaneous and nearly identical sanction against seven Burmese military officers including the general who was in charge of the ruthless crackdown in the country’s Buddhist majority northern Rakhine state, the abode of the Muslim Rohingyas.

The action, dubbed by UN as “ethnic cleansing” and ” genocide” by rights groups, forced over 700,000 Rohingyas to flee their home and take refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Nauert said US State Department was working closely with its allies and partners to make accountable those who were responsible for the ethnic cleansing and “serious human rights abuses (also) against members of other minority groups, including in Kachin and Shan States”.

“We (US) have taken a number of steps, including ceasing issuance of visas to current and former senior leaders of the Burmese (Myanmar) military; assessing that there is credible information implicating all military units and officers involved in operations in northern Rakhine State,” she said reaffirming US supports to the mandate of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Burma.

Nauert said the US obtained information that the “full chain of command” of Myanmar army was responsible in committing the “gross violations of human rights” and those units and individuals were “ineligible” to receive US assistance.

In December of 2017, the statement said, the US president sanctioned former Western Command Major General Maung Maung Soe for his role in the events related to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, and publicly discussed the possibility of further targeted sanctions, among other actions, against those responsible for human rights abuses.

“The United States has been and will continue to be engaged in a whole-of-government response to the humanitarian and human rights aspects of the crisis in Rakhine State,” the state department said.

The European Union is the first to impose the sanction on five army
generals, a border guard general and a police commander in Myanmar over human rights violations against Rohingya population.

The EU sanction meant the seven officials assets within the EU purview would be freeze while they would be banned from traveling to its member countries.

The latest EU action came after the bloc extended an arms embargo and prohibited any training of, or cooperation with, Myanmar’s armed forces.

Canada announced the sanction against the same seven officers shortly after the EU announcement freezing their assets and barring Canadians and others who live in Canada from dealing with them “or providing financial or related services to them (seven officers)”.

Hours after the EU, Myanmar’s military in a Facebook post claimed to have “purged” that Major General Maung Maung Soe, one of the seven named in the sanction for “poor performance”.

He is the former head of the western command in Rakhine.

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