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 TillersonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Leaked Trump transition vetting documents show numerous officials with 'red flags': Axios Bolton says Russia, China seeking to promote discord in Trump administration 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 MnuchinDemocratic lawmaker calls Trump a 'moron' for his handling of Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need Congress to approve Iran strikes in interview with The Hill | New sanctions hit Iran's supreme leader | Schumer seeks to delay defense bill amid Iran tensions | Esper's first day as acting Pentagon chief Treasury inspector general to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills MORE said of the individuals targeted. 

“At the direction of President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question 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.”