The United States has taken fresh action against 18 individuals, including the Myanmar Army chief, for their roles in atrocities and other abuses.
The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) came up with the sanctions.
Other individuals, apart from four individuals from Myanmar, are located in Pakistan, Libya, Slovakia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan for their roles in serious human rights abuse.
Besides, six entities have been designated for being owned or controlled by one of the aforementioned individuals.
OFAC designated these individuals and entities pursuant to an executive order which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of serious human rights abuse and corruption.
“The United States will not tolerate torture, kidnapping, sexual violence, murder, or brutality against innocent civilians,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin on Tuesday.
Mnuchin said America is the world leader in combatting human rights abuse and they will hold perpetrators and enablers accountable wherever they operate.
“Treasury’s action focuses on those who have killed, or ordered the killing of innocents who stood up for human rights including journalists, opposition members, and lawyers,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.
The action supports US efforts to support Myanmar’s democratic transition, civilian-led economic reform, and civilian control of the military, according to US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Min Aung Hlaing is designated for his role as the Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese military forces, an entity that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse under his command, said a press release.
Min Aung Hlaing’s military forces were responsible for the brutal security operation that began in August 2017 in Rakhine State and ultimately caused more than 500,000 people to flee to Bangladesh, it said.
During this time, members of ethnic minority groups were killed or injured by gunshot, often while fleeing, or by soldiers using large-bladed weapons; others were burned to death in their own houses.
There are credible claims of mass-scale rape and other forms of sexual violence committed by soldiers under Min Aung Hlaing’s command.
Soe Win is designated for his role as the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese military forces, an entity that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse during his tenure.
Soe Win has been heavily involved in directing major operations that occurred in 2017, including the decision to deploy combat divisions to Rakhine State and other regions where serious human rights abuses occurred.
Myanmar military units responsible for some of the most serious violence, including many instances of sexual violence, reported directly to Soe Win.
Than Oo is designated for being a leader of the 99th Light Infantry Division (LID), an entity that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse under his command.
In 2017, the 99th LID deployed to Rakhine State and, while there, participated in serious human rights abuses alongside the 33rd LID and other security forces.
In one operation in Tula Toli, hundreds of men, women, and children were reportedly forced to the nearby riverbank where the 99th LID opened fire, executing many of the men, and forced women and girls to nearby houses where they were sexually assaulted.
A number of these women and children were later stabbed and beaten, with the houses set fire while they were inside. The 99th LID was designated pursuant to E.O. 13818 on August 17, 2018, for engaging in serious human rights abuse.
Aung Aung is designated for being a leader of the 33rd LID, an entity that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse under his command.
The 33rd LID participated in abuses in Rakhine State, including the August 27, 2017 operation in Chut Pyin village.
This operation included extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and sexual violence, as well as firing on fleeing villagers.
More than 100 people were reportedly killed in this one operation alone.