US bans top Myanmar generals from country over attacks on Rohingya Muslims

US bans top Myanmar generals from country over attacks on Rohingya Muslims
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The Trump administration sanctioned Myanmar's military chief and three top generals Wednesday for their connection to crimes carried out against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority.

A State Department press release detailed travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. against Myanmar's commander in chief, Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander in Chief Soe Win, Brigadier Gen. Than Oo and Brigadier Gen. Aung Aung. All of the officials and their immediate family are barred from traveling to the U.S. in any capacity.

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In particular, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump isolated amid Syria furor | Pompeo, Pence to visit Turkey in push for ceasefire | Turkish troops advance in Syria | Graham throws support behind Trump's sanctions Graham: Erdoğan pledged to Trump to stay away from Kurdish territory in Syria Trump honors Stanley Cup champions, talks impeachment, Turkey MORE noted Aung Hlaing's involvement in the early release of soldiers convicted of extrajudicial killings of Rohingya Muslims, adding that journalists jailed for reporting such atrocities remained in prison for much longer.

"One egregious example of the continued and severe lack of accountability for the military and its senior leadership was the recent disclosure that Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing ordered the release of the soldiers convicted of the extrajudicial killings at Inn Din during the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya," Pompeo said, referring to a 2017 massacre at Inn Din, a village in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state.

"The Commander-in-Chief released these criminals after only months in prison, while the journalists who told the world about the killings in Inn Din were jailed for more than 500 days," he wrote.

The 2017 massacre was labeled an act of genocide by the United Nations and resulted in hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing the country.

Pompeo said in the press release that there were "continued reports" of ongoing ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in the country, which the Trump administration has condemned as "gross violations of human rights."

"We remain concerned that the Burmese government has taken no actions to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, and there are continued reports of the Burmese military committing human rights violations and abuses throughout the country," he wrote.