US Marks Anniversary of Myanmar Coup With New Sanctions

US Marks Anniversary of Myanmar Coup With New Sanctions

U.S. state department — 

The United States is imposing further sanctions on Myanmar’s military regime three years after the February 1, 2021, military coup, and designating four individuals and two entities associated with it.

The U.S. State Department said the latest action targets sources of revenue that support the regime’s military activities against civilians and those who provide material and support for arms production in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against the Shwe Byain Phyu Group of Companies, its owner Thein Win Zaw, and his wife and two adult children. Sanctions were also announced against Myanma Five Star Line, a shipping company.

The two entities are said to maintain a relationship with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Co. Ltd., or MEHL, which is controlled by the now-ruling Burmese military or Tatmadaw. The Tatmadaw has long relied on business activities to finance its own operations.

The Treasury said these two entities have facilitated the military regime’s acquisition of foreign currency and the importation of petroleum and other materials through their ties to MEHL.

Today’s sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of those targeted, and generally bar Americans from dealing with them.

“Today, we have ramped up our economic and political pressure on the military regime, including by restricting U.S. dollar transactions with state-owned enterprises that provide revenue enabling the military to do harm and kill its own civilians,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a briefing on Wednesday.

“We’re going to continue to support efforts by the opposition to the regime and to seek a resolution of the conflict that provides for genuine and inclusive multiparty democracy,” he said.

On February 1, 2021, Myanmar’s military forces ousted the democratically elected government, stripping civilian leaders of their power.

The coup triggered massive pro-democracy demonstrations that were initially crushed with a deadly crackdown by the military, but has since evolved into a conflict between the military and armed resistance forces allied with several rural ethnic rebel groups who have been fighting for decades for greater autonomy.

FILE – Anti-coup protesters take cover at a barricade as they clash with security forces on Bayint Naung Bridge in Mayangone, Yangon, Myanmar, March 16, 2021.

U.S. officials and lawmakers urge the Myanmar military to cease violence against its people, release unjustly detained individuals, permit unhindered humanitarian access, and respect the public’s will for a return to representative democracy.

Speaking in Congress, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the conflict has displaced roughly 2.5 million people. He called for the unconditional release of all political prisoners in Myanmar.

Almost 2,000 members of the National League for Democracy, Myanmar’s main pro-democracy party, along with numerous others from across Burmese society and various ethnic groups, are being unjustly detained as political prisoners, according to McConnell.

Despite international pressure to stop assaults in civilian areas, Myanmar’s regime has continued to use its military aircraft to conduct bombings.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International said new evidence suggests Myanmar’s junta is using new tactics to import aviation fuel after sanctions were imposed in response to air strikes that have unlawfully killed and injured civilians.

Shipping data suggests there is an attempt to evade sanctions within the aviation fuel supply chain. Direct sales of fuel have diminished. Instead, intermediaries seem to be assisting in the purchase of fuel for Myanmar, according to a report by the Amnesty International.

Last year — 2023 — was the worst for airstrikes in Myanmar since the coup three years ago, according to Amnesty International.

“The best way to stop the Myanmar military from carrying out lethal airstrikes is to stop all jet fuel imports into the country,” said Montse Ferrer, deputy regional director for research at Amnesty International.  » …
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