EU sanctions 22 Myanmar officials, 4 entities over deteriorating human rights

The European Union on Monday imposed its fourth round of Myanmar-related sanctions following the military coup of Feb. 1, 2021. File photo by EPA-EFE
The European Union on Monday imposed its fourth round of Myanmar-related sanctions following the military coup of Feb. 1, 2021. File photo by EPA-EFE

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- The European Union on Monday black-listed nearly two dozen Myanmar government and military officials as well as four state-owned companies accused of funding the leaders behind last year's military coup.

The 27-member bloc announced the sanctions freezing assets and issuing travel bans to 22 people including government ministers, a State Administrative Council member and those on the Union Election Commission as well as ranking members of the Myanmar Armed Forces known as the Tatmadaw.


The entities hit were Htoo Group, IGE, Mining Enterprise 1 and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.

"The European Union is deeply concerned by the continuing escalation of violence in Myanmar and the evolution toward a protracted conflict with regional implications," the EU said in a statement. "Since the military coup, the situation has continuously and gravely deteriorated."

The latest round of EU sanctions against Myanmar officials was imposed more than a year after the military seized control of the nation in a Feb. 1, 2021, coup that has been followed by a repressive and violent crackdown on protesters, which the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said has resulted in 1,566 people killed by the junta and 9,236 others either arrested, charged or sentenced.


They also follow human rights advocates calling for the sanctions of Myanmar's oil and gas sector to prevent foreign currency going into the pockets of the junta to fund its abusive activities.

"After nearly a year in power, Myanmar's junta is continuing to commit horrific abuses without facing significant costs from the international community," John Sifton, Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said in a late January statement. "Junta leaders are not going to turn away from their brutality and oppression unless governments impose more significant financial pressure on them."

After the sanctions were announced, Claudio Francavilla, the EU advocate at Human Rights Watch, tweeted that it was a positive step, one the United States, Britain and Australia should follow.

"But for the measures to be impactful, [EU] governments must ensure European energy companies pulling out of [Myanmar] don't sell their shares back to MOGE," he said.

Last month, French oil and gas company TotalEnergies announced it was pulling out of Myanmar due to the deteriorating human rights and rule of law situation in the country following the February coup.

In total, the EU has imposed four rounds of Myanmar-related sanctions, blacklisting 65 people and 10 entities for their involvement in the military take over of Myanmar.


Western allies such as the United States, Canada and others have also imposed rounds of sanctions, including on Friday when Britain sanctioned three members of the military regime for committing serious human rights violations. On Feb. 9, New Zealand suspended all political and military contacts with the country and called to impose a travel ban on military leaders.

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