Canada, US, UK Impose Sanctions Against Myanmar Top Officials

One year after the military coup, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom applied sanctions against several senior Myanmar officials for undermining democracy and violating human rights.

Mynmar Coup Protest.jpgMyanmar’s deadly 2021 military coup came after the military-endorsed USDP party contested the landslide victory of the NLD under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi at the general election in November 2020. (Photo: MgHla (aka) Htin Linn Aye, Wikimedia, License)The country’s attorney general Dr. Thida Oo, was targeted because she heads the office that has crafted the regime’s politically motivated charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and other pro-democracy leaders.

Sanctions were also applied against the country’s Chair of the Anti-Corruption Commission U Tin Oo. Canada and the U.S. imposed sanctions on Tun Tun Oo, Myanmar’s Chief Justice, while the U.K. opted to target U Thein Soe, the head of the country's election commission.

Myanmar’s deadly 2021 military coup came after the military-endorsed USDP party contested the landslide victory of the NLD under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi at the general election in November 2020.

Gen Min Aung Hlaing, now de facto leader, has since been seen as responsible for conducting mass killings, sexual violence, and arbitrary arrests. The newly applied sanctions prohibit the targeted individuals from accessing funds, goods, and services from the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, more than 11,700 people have been detained arbitrarily for voicing opposition against the military via peaceful protest or through online activity.

“One year after the military seized power, the people of Myanmar – who have paid a high cost in both lives and freedoms lost – continue to advocate relentlessly for their democracy,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

According to a press statement from the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, more than 1,500 people have been killed by the regime. The documented cases include journalists, lawyers, health practitioners, political opposition members, as well as peaceful protestors and children.

“We continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and support their tenacity, resilience and efforts to restore democracy and defend human rights in their country,” said Mélanie Joly, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The new wave of Canadian and British sanctions apply only to senior members of the Myanmar regime. American sanctions according to the U.S. Treasury will go beyond senior members, targeting private business entities and individuals known to provide financial support and military equipment to the current regime.

With abuses in power and the rule of law still prevalent, the stricter measures hope to see a shift towards positive outcomes.

So far the West has imposed sanctions against dozens of Myanmar officials who rose to power after the coup as well as businesspeople and companies seen as supporting the military regime.