The United Kingdom and United States are imposing further sanctions in Myanmar over human rights violations. According to the reports by AP, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the measures target military-owned conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. This is being done for its involvement in abuses against the country’s Rohingya minority and also for its association with senior military figures. Due to the sanctions, the funds which were available to any subsidiaries controlled by the company will now be prohibited.
Earlier, the European Union imposed sanctions against 11 individuals responsible for the February 1 military coup in Myanmar and the subsequent crackdown of peaceful protesters. According to a press release issued by the European Council, ten of the 11 individuals sanctioned in the latest list include top ranking officials of Myanmar’s Armed Forces. Myanmar military Commander-in-Chief, Min Aung Hlaing and his deputy Soe Win have also been sanctioned by the EU.
Myanmar’s military conducted a coup on February 1, overthrowing the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The military arrested State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and several other members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party hours before the newly-elected parliamentarians were scheduled to take the oath of office. The military accused the government of engaging in illegal activities, including election fraud and corruption.
As per the experts, the military orchestrated the coup because it feared that Suu Kyi’s government would reduce the number of seats reserved for the Army in the national parliament after winning the 2020 election with a landslide. Suu Kyi had earlier promised to slowly end the reservation for the military, which takes 25 per cent of the total seats in the parliament. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the military, demanding the restoration of democracy in Myanmar. After security forces failed to bring the widespread protests under control, the junta ordered use of force against peaceful demonstrators, killing more than a hundred people since February and arresting over thousand others. The military has also detained several human rights activists, pro-democracy advocates, journalists, and politicians since the coup occurred earlier last month.