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U.S., Canada, Britain impose new sanctions on Myanmar's junta

The United States, Canada and Britain increased pressure on Myanmar's military junta on Monday by imposing coordinated sanctions against it and connected entities. Photo by Xiao Long/UPI
The United States, Canada and Britain increased pressure on Myanmar's military junta on Monday by imposing coordinated sanctions against it and connected entities. Photo by Xiao Long/UPI | License Photo

May 17 (UPI) -- The United States, Canada and Britain on Monday imposed fresh coordinated sanctions against the Myanmar military junta and connected entities in response to its February coup.

The Treasury said in a statement it designated 16 people, 13 of which are key members of Myanmar's military, and the State Administration Council, the military government formed Feb. 2, a day after it usurped governmental power from the country's civilian leaders.

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Three adult children of leading military figures were also sanctioned, it said.

The sanctions freeze their U.S. assets while barring American citizens and companies from doing business with them.

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Canada said it sanctioned 16 people and 10 entities, some of which have already been blacklisted by the United States, for their connection to the military's "ongoing brutal repression of the people of Myanmar and their refusal to take steps to restore democracy," Global Affairs Canada said in a statement.

Britain said sanctioned Myanma Gems Enterprise, an entity sanctioned by the United States last month and one of the 10 entities targeted Monday by Canada, to deprive the junta of gem trade revenue, which is a key source of funding in the multi-billions of dollars for the country.

"Our actions today underscore our resolve and that of our partners to apply political and financial pressure on the regime as long as it fails to stop violence and take meaningful action to respect the will of the people," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

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The United States and its allies have repeatedly sanctioned Myanmar's military, units and connected companies since the February coup, which has sparked ongoing nationwide protests that have been met by a bloody crackdown.

According to a daily update Monday from Myanmar's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 802 people have been killed by the junta and 5,210 people have been arrested since the coup.

The sanctions were imposed a day before the United Nations considers a resolution that calls for unimpeded humanitarian access and an immediate cessation to the direct or indirect sale of weapons, munitions and military-related equipment to the country, said Tom Andrews, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

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"What can the world do about the military junta's relentless assault on the people of Myanmar? How about stop enabling it?" he tweeted Sunday.

On Monday, Progressive Voice, a rights-based policy research and advocacy organization in Myanmar, published a letter from 390 civil society organizations across the country to Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne demanding she impose sanctions and take other actions against the junta.

"Australia's shameful inaction is discouraging to those who continue to stand for the protection and promotion of democracy and human rights, while emboldening the very perpetrators of heinous atrocity crimes," they said in the letter. "The time for words and statements have long passed and action from Australia is long overdue."

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