The European Union imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s 10 military leaders, as well as two giant military conglomerates, with the toughest measures against the February 1 coup and Bloody crackdown on protesters demanding the return of the elected government.
Announcing on Monday’s sanctions, including property freezing and visa bans, EU member states said individuals “are all responsible for undermining democracy and rule of law in Myanmar / Burma, as well as serious repression and human rights violations ”.
The EU said in its Official Journal, the State Administrative Council of Myanmar (SAC), formed by the military one day after taking power, is responsible for “undermining democracy and the rule of law”.
“Military and government forces operating under SAC control have committed serious human rights violations since 1 February 2021, killing civilians and unarmed protesters,” the EU said. “.
Nine of them are members of the State Management Council. Information Minister U Chit Naing was also sanctioned.
Myanmar has been rocked by the almost daily protests since the coup and the military has stepped up its efforts to quell dissent even as the United Nations and Western countries condemn the continuation. their governance and the violence escalated.
Thousands have been arrested since the coup and at least 738 civilians have been killed, according to the human rights organization, the Association for Support of Political Prisoners, which is monitoring the situation. More than 4,000 people were arrested and 3,261 remain in custody, according to the group the military allegedly spread “fake news”.
The EU also took action against Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC), as they “owned and controlled by the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and provides revenue for it“, The statement added.
Corporations have many business interests including shopping malls, breweries, entertainment and tobacco venues and provide substantial off-budget military income. The The United States and the UK have imposed sanctions on businesses and the US has also sanctioned the state’s gemstone company.
The EU’s imposition of sanctions today on two Myanmar-owned military groups is a step in the right direction.
– Global Witness (@Global_Witness) April 19, 2021
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after virtual talks with his EU counterparts on Monday that the military government was “bringing the country to a dead end”.
“That is why we are increasing the pressure to put the military on the negotiating table,” he said.
The sanctions, long required by human rights groups, prohibit EU investors and banks from doing business with companies.
“MEHL and its subsidiaries generate revenue (for the military), thus contributing to its ability to carry out activities that undermine democracy and the rule of law as well as serious human rights violations. in Myanmar, ”said the EU. It also made a similar charge against the MEC and stressed that the sanctions were designed to avoid “undue harm” to the people of Myanmar.
The military has justified its seizure of power after 10 years of planned progress toward democracy by claiming that The November 2020 election brought Aung San Suu Kyi and her party back to power in a landslide war. has been deceived with cheating. The election committee, whose members were also detained during the coup, has denied the allegations.
“#ASEANIts role is more important than ever as the region faces an emergency crisis in Myanmar, “said @antonioguterres. Governments must work together to “end violence and oppression by the military.” #WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar https://t.co/drYXyRQFoY
– John Quinley III (@ john_hq3) April 20, 2021
As the protests continued in Myanmar on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that a “strong international response was needed based on regional unification efforts.” “, Urging” parties in the region to take advantage of their influence to prevent further deterioration and finally, find a peaceful way out of this disaster “.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Myanmar joined under a previous military government in 1997, will hold a special summit on coup and post-coup. its fruit is on April 24. Min Aung Hlaing will attend.
Also speaking to the Security Council, Guterres’ predecessor, Ban Ki-moon, also urged the council to go beyond reprimanding statements for collective action and towards ASEAN, the decision-making organization. follow the consensus and do not interfere with issues they consider domestic problems, to react more strongly.
“Asean must make it clear to the Myanmar military that the current situation is so serious that it cannot be considered an internal matter,” he said.
Myanmar’s elected government and its supporters have established a parallel government – the Government of National Unification – and called on ASEAN invite them to the summit.
A group of regional parliamentarians on Tuesday urged ASEAN to “give (the united government) a seat on the table” and handle the invitation for Min Aung Hlaing “with extreme caution”.
“ASEAN cannot fully discuss the situation in Myanmar without listening to and talking to the National Unification Government,” said Charles Santiago, chair of the ASEAN Parliamentary on Human Rights (APHR) and Malaysian MP (MP ), said. “If ASEAN’s goal is really to strengthen democracy, as the Charter states, then they must give them a seat at the table. After all, they are the embodiment of democracy in Myanmar ”.
APHR also said that the regional group should invite Christine Schraner Burgener, the Secretary-General’s special envoy to Myanmar, to attend the summit. She contacted the generals but they refused to allow her to visit Myanmar.