US imposes new Myanmar-related sanctions on 2 individuals, 2 entities

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Washington [US], March 22 (ANI): The United States has imposed new Myanmar-related sanctions on two individuals, including the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs and Chief of Burma Police Force, and two divisions of the country's armed forces, the Treasury Department said in a notice on the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) website on Monday.

"The following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN List: HLAING, Than... SOE, Aung," the notice said. "The following entities have been added to OFAC's SDN List: 33RD LIGHT INFANTRY DIVISION OF THE BURMESE ARMY...77TH LIGHT INFANTRY DIVISION OF THE BURMESE ARMY," as quoted by Sputnik.

The Treasury Department said in a press release that Hlaing is the chief of the Burma Police Force and has been engaged in the violent crackdown of protesters opposing the military coup. Soe is a Bureau of Special Operations commander and has also served a role in the crackdown of protesters, the release said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that today's actions send a strong signal that we will follow through on our pledges to continue to take action against coup leaders and those who perpetrate violence.

"The United States continues to call on the military regime to release all those unjustly detained; stop its attacks on civil society members, journalists, and labour unionists; halt the brutal killings by its security forces; and return power to the democratically elected government," he said in a statement.

Lauding the sanctions imposed by the European Union of designating 11 Myanmar individuals associated with the coup and related violence, many of whom the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have sanctioned, the top US diplomat said that these "actions demonstrate the international community's condemnation of the regime and commitment to the people of Burma (Myanmar)."

"Since the military coup last month, the people of Burma have voiced their aspirations for a return to democratic governance, peace, and rule of law. The United States, together with our allies and partners, has stood with them," he said.

"In response, the military regime continues its violent crackdown, which has killed at least 194 people to-date, including peaceful protesters. The junta continues its attempts to overturn the results of a democratic election by brutally repressing peaceful protesters and killing individuals who are simply demanding a say in their country's future," he added.

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.

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.

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)