On Monday, the European Union (EU) imposed its sixth set of sanctions against high-ranking officials and entities in Burma (also known as Myanmar) since the nation’s 2021 military coup. This round of sanctions targeted nine individuals and seven enterprises linked to the violence and human rights violations in Burma.
The sanctioned individuals included energy minister Myo Myint Oo, high-ranking military officers, and businessmen supplying the junta regime with arms and dual-use goods. The EU also sanctioned officials from the Yangon region involved in the execution of four democracy activists last July, as well as officials from Kachin State who oversaw “air strikes, massacres, raids, arson, and the use of human shields” committed by the military. The new sanctions also targeted departments in the Ministry of Defense, including a state-owned enterprise under its jurisdiction, as well as private companies that supply the military with fuel, arms, and funds.
The EU has now sanctioned a total of 93 individuals and 18 entities since the military coup that deposed the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb, 1, 2021. These sanctions involve an asset freeze in the EU, a travel ban, and a prohibition on European transactions. In addition, the EU has maintained its arms embargo and export restrictions on equipment for monitoring communications and dual-use goods, as well as halted military training and cooperation with Burma.
Several Western countries have imposed sanctions on Burma’s military and its businesses due to its suppression of anti-coup protesters and the prosecution of Aung San Suu Kyi. Earlier this month, Australia imposed its first sanctions against the military junta. These targeted sanctions focused on individuals responsible for the “egregious human rights abuses” and entities that enabled the repression of the Burmese people. This included 16 members of the country’s military regime’s governing State Administration Council (SAC), two Burmese military-controlled entities, and Myanmar Economic Public Holdings Ltd (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC).
Human Rights Watch said the junta’s systematic abuses “amount to crimes against humanity,” citing the findings of other rights organizations. Over 1,100 civilians have been killed by the military, and more than a quarter million people have been displaced since the military took power, according to the United Nations. More than 8,000 people were arbitrarily detained, and dozens of them were tortured to death.
The EU called for those responsible for the coup and the perpetrators of violence and gross human rights violations to be held accountable and for all hostilities to stop immediately. Australia also called for the junta to restore democracy and hold credible elections in the country. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the junta has shown “a flagrant disregard for human life” by launching airstrikes on populated areas and deliberately targeting civilians.
Victoria Kelly-Clark contributed to this report.