BOTH the European Union and Canada have imposed new sanctions on seven senior Burmese military officials on Monday, including the general overseeing operations in Rakhine State where more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence.
The EU’s sanctions place an asset freeze on all seven targets and prevents them from travelling to Europe. While Canada’s sanctions, announced just hours after the EU’s, also include an asset freeze as well as barring Canadians and people in Canada from dealing with the listed officers “or providing financial or related services to them.”
A statement from the EU said the seven men were listed because of their “involvement in or association with atrocities and serious human rights violations committed against the Rohingya population.” Violations listed include “unlawful killings, sexual violence and the systematic burning of Rohingya houses and buildings.”
Shortly after the EU announcement, the Burmese military confirmed that one of the sanctioned generals had been fired and another had left the armed forces last month after being removed from his post.
Both of those no longer with the military were instrumental in the violent offensive against Rohingya groups that the United Nations described as “ethnic cleansing.”
Major General Maung Maung Soe, who had already been sanctioned by the United States last December, was head of Western Command in Rakhine in the peak of the anti-Rohingya crackdown.
The other, Lieutenant General Aung Kyaw Zaw, was “given permission to resign” in May after his time overseeing the Western Command. The military said he had earlier been moved from his original post after “some flaws” were found in his performance.
Canada first imposed sanctions in February in response to the mass killing of 10 Rohingya men in Inn Din village that was uncovered by two Reuters journalists. In a rare admission of wrongdoing, the army charged the men involved with murder and sentenced to 10 years hard labour.
The two reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who uncovered the massacre are currently detained on charges of possessing secret government documents.
The Burmese military continues to deny any wrongdoing in its crackdown in Rakhine State, maintaining that it was responding to terrorist attacks from Rohingya militants.