US, Canada and UK impose new sanctions on Myanmar military

Coordinated sanctions are latest in string of punitive measures targeting Myanmar military rulers and related entities.

Myanmar soldiers walk along a street during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on February 28, 2021 [File: Stringer/Reuters]

The United States, United Kingdom and Canada have imposed coordinated sanctions on Myanmar’s military rulers and related entities, the latest in a string of punitive measures since the army seized power in a February coup.

The US said on Monday that it was targeting the governing State Administrative Council (SAC) and 13 officials, freezing any of their US assets and barring Americans from dealing with them.

Canada said it imposed additional sanctions on individuals and entities tied to the Myanmar armed forces, while the United Kingdom announced sanctions against state-owned enterprise Myanmar Gems Enterprise, which was included in previous US sanctions.

“Our actions today underscore our resolve and that of our partners to apply political and financial pressure on the regime as long as it fails to stop violence and take meaningful action to respect the will of the people,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement announcing the move.

“Canada stands with the people of Myanmar as they continue to fight to restore democracy and freedom in their country and we will not hesitate to take further action,” Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau also said in a statement.

Nationwide protests have continued since Myanmar’s military seized power in a February 1 coup, detaining and deposing civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4,000 people are behind bars.

The US and other Western countries have steadily added the leading members of the military regime, as well as state enterprises that fund it, to their sanctions list in an effort to pressure the army to return to democracy.

The unrest has continued, however, with bombings reported daily, local militias formed to confront the army, and protests and strikes by opponents of the coup taking place across the Southeast Asian country.

On Sunday, six opposition rebels were killed by the military after days of confrontations, an anti-coup defence force made up of civilians said.

In the western state of Chin, the town of Mindat has emerged as a hotspot for unrest, where some residents have formed the Chinland Defence Force (CDF).

“Six members of our CDF who tried to protect the security of the people in Mindat attacked [the military] and sacrificed their lives for the national revolution,” the CDF said in a statement.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies