EU imposes sanctions on 11 individuals from Myanmar, including military officials

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Brussels [Belgium], March 22 (ANI): The Council of the European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on 11 individuals responsible for the military coup staged in Myanmar on February 1, and the subsequent military and police repression against peaceful demonstrators.

According to a statement from the council, the sanctions targetted 10 military officials; among them are Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and Deputy-Commander-in-Chief Soe Win, as well as the new chairperson of Myanmar's election commission.

"The Council today imposed restrictive measures on eleven individuals responsible for the military coup staged in Myanmar/Burma on 1 February 2021, and the subsequent military and police repression against peaceful demonstrators... The restrictive measures introduced today include a travel ban and an asset freeze. The travel ban impedes those listed from entering or transiting through EU territory, while the asset freeze covers the funds or economic resources in the EU of the listed persons. In addition, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities," the statement read.

It added, "Today's sanctions, together with the withholding of financial assistance going to the government, the freezing of all assistance to government bodies that may be seen as legitimising the Myanmar military junta, and intense, ongoing diplomatic outreach, represent the EU's robust response to the illegitimate over-throwing of the democratically-elected government and the brutal repression by the junta against peaceful protesters."

The council said that the bloc will continue to review all of its policy options, including additional restrictive measures against economic entities owned or controlled by the military in Myanmar/Burma.

"At the same time, the EU aims to ensure that its measures do not have an adverse effect on the general population. The EU remains a steadfast supporter of the Myanmar/Burmese people and of the country's democratic transition," the statement read.

Pre-existing EU restrictive measures, the council said, would also remain in place; which include an embargo on arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression, an export ban of dual-use goods for use by the military and border guard police, export restrictions on equipment for monitoring communications that could be used for internal repression, and a prohibition on military training to and military cooperation with the Tatmadaw.

"Measures also include the designation of 14 persons for atrocities against the Rohingya population. Combined with the new designations, this brings the total number of listed persons to 25," the statement read.

Last month, the EU strongly condemned the military coup in Myanmar and is considering sanctions against the individuals responsible for ousting the country's civilian government.

"The European Union calls for de-escalation of the current crisis through an immediate end to the state of emergency, the restoration of the legitimate civilian government and the opening of the newly elected parliament," the Council said in a statement published on its website.

The council called for the results of the democratic elections held on November 9, last year to be respected and demanded that the military must renounce its action.

The European Union is "deeply concerned about reports of intimidation". Strong engagement with civil society and support for human rights defenders and journalists will remain a key priority, the council said.

Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, said on Monday that the violence against those who protest the Myanmar military coup reached "unbearable" proportions.

"It is unacceptable that we see the rampage of violence there. The number of casualties reached unbearable proportions. It is inevitable that sanctions will be imposed. But they will be targeted at those responsible for the human rights violations. We do not want to punish the population," Maas said ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council as quoted by Sputnik.

Severe crackdowns on anti-coup protesters may occur in the run-up to a ceremony planned for Saturday to mark a military commemoration, say analysts. On February 1, Myanmar's military overthrew the government and declared a year-long state of emergency hours before the newly-elected parliament was due to convene.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, along with other top officials accused of election fraud, have been placed under house arrest. According to Sputnik, the coup caused massive protests in the country.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 250 people died during the clashes with police and military forces. (ANI)