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 TillersonTrump lashes out over Kelly criticism: 'He misses the action' Timeline: Trump and Romney's rocky relationship Top Democrat demands Barr recuse himself from case against Turkish bank 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 MnuchinBloomberg proposes financial transaction tax GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law On The Money: Deficit spikes 25 percent through January | Mnuchin declines to say why Trump pulled Treasury nominee who oversaw Roger Stone case | Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts MORE said of the individuals targeted. 

“At the direction of President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister 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.”