UK, US impose sanctions targeting Myanmar military business

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Protesters carry flags as they drive their motorcycles during an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Thursday March 25, 2021. Protesters against last month’s military takeover in Myanmar returned to the streets in large numbers Thursday, a day after staging a “silence strike” in which people were urged to stay home and businesses to close for the day. (AP Photo)

The U.K. and the United States are imposing further sanctions over human rights violations in Myanmar, Britain’s top diplomat said Thursday.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the measures target military-owned conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. for its involvement in serious abuses against the country’s Rohingya minority and for its association with senior military figures.

The measures will prohibit funds being made available to any subsidiaries owned or controlled by the company.

The Foreign Office said the move was in response to evidence that the conglomerate contributed funds to support the country’s armed forces in their campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya in 2017.

Thursday’s announcement followed asset freezes and travel bans that the British government imposed on nine members of Myanmar’s military leadership last month.

Authorities have arrested thousands of protesters as part of an increasingly brutal crackdown since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted Myanmar’s elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. On Wednesday, more than 600 demonstrators were released, a rare conciliatory gesture by the military that appeared aimed at placating the protest movement.

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