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US hitting Myanmar with new sanctions one year after coup

Demonstrators protest coup in Myanmar
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The U.S. government is imposing a new round of sanctions against Myanmar military officials, judges and businessmen on the one-year anniversary of the military coup that overthrew the country’s democratically elected government and plunged the country into violence.

The sanctions will target the entity responsible for procuring weapons from around the world for the Myanmar army, Union Attorney General Thida Oo, the chief justice of Myanmar’s supreme court Tun Tun Oo as well as business mogul Tay Za and his adult children.

The individuals were sanctioned due to their support and enabling of the military regime, as part of a joint action with the U.K. and Canada.

Any property that these individuals and entities own in the U.S., as well as any properties in which they have a majority share, will now be blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

“Since the military coup of February 1, 2021, the people of Burma have stood firm in rejecting military rule and calling for their country’s return to the path to inclusive democracy,” the State Department said.

“Tragically, in its continued violent quest to consolidate control, the regime has killed nearly 1,500 people, including women and children, and detained some 10,000 more, including civilian officials, civil society and labor activists, journalists, and foreign citizens.”

Brian Nelson, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence for the Treasury Department, said in a statement that the U.S. would continue to support the people of Myanmar as they seek “freedom and democracy.”

“We will continue to target those responsible for the coup and ongoing violence, enablers of the regime’s brutal repression, and their financial supporters,” said Nelson.

Biden warned of sanctions when initially condemning the military’s ouster of the civilian-led government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi a year ago. 

“The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy,” he said at the time. “The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action.”

In April, the U.S. slapped sanctions on Myanma Gems Enterprise (MGE), a government-owned firm that oversees all gemstone activities in the country. Gem mining is a lucrative industry that helps fund the military regime.

In July, the Biden administration announced a series of sanctions against 22 individuals linked to the coup, including Myanmar’s information minister Chit Naing, investment minister Aung Naing Oo, labour and immigration minister Myint Kyaing, along with three members of the State Administrative Council.

Tags Htun Htun Oo Myanmar Myanmar–United States relations Tatmadaw
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