EU Imposes New Sanctions on Myanmar as Violence Escalates

Myanmar officials and entities were placed under a sixth round of European Union sanctions on Monday over the 2021 military coup that ousted the democratically elected government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and sparked global outrage. 

The latest sanctions include restrictions on nine people and seven entities whom the EU says have contributed to the escalating violence and human rights violations in the Southeast Asian country.  

The sanctioned individuals include the energy minister, high-ranking officers, politicians, and prominent businesspeople who have supported the regime. 

Sanctions were also placed on departments in the Ministry of Defense, along with a state-owned enterprise under its jurisdiction, and private companies that supply funds and arms to the military.  

The EU has restrictive measures on 93 individuals and 18 entities. Those who are sanctioned are subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban in EU territory.  

Additionally, export restrictions are being placed on equipment for “monitoring communications which might be used for internal repression,” along with EU prohibition of military training and cooperation with the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military.  

The Feb. 1, 2021, coup happened after the military rejected the outcome of November 2020 elections, in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won in a landslide. The junta claimed widespread electoral fraud, allegations the civilian electoral commission denied before it was disbanded. 

Human Rights Watch says that since the coup, military forces have “committed numerous crimes against humanity and war crimes across the country,” documented by the organization and other groups.

Earlier this month, the ruling council declared martial law in more than three dozen of the country’s 330 townships and extended a six-month state of emergency. The military has also been conducting airstrikes targeting a resistance movement that emerged following the coup. 

As of February 20, nearly 20,000 political prisoners have been detained and more than 3,000 people have been killed by the military, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a rights monitoring organization. 

In a press release Monday, the EU said that it condemns “in the strongest possible terms the grave human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, the persecution of civil society, human rights defenders and journalists, attacks on the civilian population, targeting also children and persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities across the country, and recent deadly air strikes on civilian targets, including on schools and hospitals, by the Myanmar armed forces.”

VOA’s Burmese Service contributed to this report. Some information came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.  

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