US sanctions top Myanmar general, others under Magnitsky Act

US sanctions top Myanmar general, others under Magnitsky Act

The Trump administration on Thursday announced sanctions against a Myanmar general accused of ethnic cleansing, the first such move against the Southeast Asian nation since it began to democratize during the Obama administration.

Maung Maung Soe is a general who oversaw the military’s operations against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a violence campaign Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTillerson: Using American aid for 'some kind of personal gain [is] wrong' Nikki Haley fires the first shot in the GOP's post-Trump war State Dept. watchdog: Official's firing was case of political retaliation MORE has declared an example of ethnic cleansing.

Twelve other individuals were also targeted by the sanctions over alleged human rights abuses and corruption.

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“The Department is committed to protecting and promoting human rights and combatting corruption with all of the tools at our disposal,” Tillerson said Thursday of the new sanctions. “Today’s actions advance our values and promote the security of the United States, our allies, and our partners.”

The penalties will freeze the assets of those targeted and restrict their access to the global financial system, a senior administration official said.

Trump on Thursday signed an executive order announcing the new sanction efforts, which also target another 39 entities and individuals under the Global Magnitsky Act. In signing the order, Trump also declared "a national emergency" in regards to global corruption and human rights abuses.

The new sanctions are the first to be imposed since the expansion of the act under the Obama administration in 2016. 

“We as an interagency over the last year have taken an expansive view of the implementation of the Global Magnitsky Act,” said one senior administration official.

Other individuals sanctioned include the former head of an elite police force in Ukraine, Sergey Kusiuk, and the former president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh. Artem Chayka, whose father is Russia’s prosecutor general, is also on the list, as is a top financial adviser to the president of South Sudan. 

“Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they’ve committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinNegative interest rates are uncalled for in today's strong economy House passes stopgap as spending talks stall On The Money: Supreme Court temporarily blocks House subpoena of Trump financial records | Trump touts 'cordial' meeting with Fed chief | Stopgap funding measure includes census money, military pay raise MORE said of the individuals targeted. 

“At the direction of President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE, Treasury and our interagency partners will continue to take decisive and impactful actions to hold accountable those who abuse human rights, perpetrate corruption, and undermine American ideals.”