Britain, Canada sanction Myanmar military generals behind coup

In this file photo taken on December 10, 2019 people participate in a rally in support of Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, as she prepares to defend Myanmar at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against accusations of genocide against Rohingya Muslims. (Photo: AFP)

Britain and Canada on Thursday imposed sanctions on Myanmar military generals accused of human rights violations following the South-East Asian nation’s recent military coup.

The United States has also imposed sanctions on the leaders of Myanmar’s Feb. 1 coup, and the European Union said it is considering taking similar action.

The three individuals facing asset freezes and travel bans by Britain are Minister of Defence, Mya Tun Oo; Minister for Home Affairs, Soe Htut; and Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Than Hlaing.

Canada also blacklisted the defence and home affairs ministers along with seven others.

Any assets they may have in the country are frozen and Canadians are prohibited from any financial dealings with them.

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“We work alongside our international partners who call for the restoration of the democratically elected government and we echo their calls for the Myanmar military to release those who have been unjustly detained in the military takeover,’’ Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Marc Garneau, said.

Britain also announced it was putting measures in place to prevent its foreign aid from indirectly supporting the new military-led government.

In Myanmar, protests against the military coup took place in several cities again on Thursday, with demonstrators calling for the release of civilian leader Suu Kyi and other detained politicians.

The rallies were smaller than on Wednesday, according to observers, though tens of thousands of people rallied in the largest city, Yangon.

Reports on social media spoke of security forces cracking down violently on protesters.

In Mytkyina, in the north of the country, images showed scores of soldiers and military vehicles on the streets.

People have been taking to the streets in the last two weeks to protest against the military leadership.

Several politicians, activists and protesters have been arrested.

The military’s coup drew condemnation from around the world.

The UN human rights monitor for Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said recently that targeted sanctions are needed to back the mass protests.

He called on the Security Council to look into arms embargoes, travel bans and international tribunals against military leaders.

Andrews praised action taken by countries like New Zealand, which suspended all high-level political and military contact with Myanmar.

U.S. President Joe Biden last week order sanctions against the military regime.

He said steps were also been taken to freeze out the military from $1 billion in assets held in the U.S.