- Further safeguards are being put in place to prevent British aid indirectly supporting Myanmar’s military
- Canada will also impose sanctions on nine Myanmar military officials
- Myanmar’s military has arrested opponents and cracked down on protests since seizing power in a coup
“Myanmar’s military and police have committed serious human rights violations, including violating the right to life, the right to freedom of assembly, the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to freedom of expression,” a UK government statement said.
Britain said it would enforce immediate asset freezes and travel bans against Minister of Defence Mya Tun Oo, Minister for Home Affairs Soe Htut, and Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Than Hlaing.
Britain already had sanctions in force against 16 individuals from the Myanmar military.
Britain also said further safeguards were being put in place to prevent British aid indirectly supporting the military-led government, and additional measures would prevent British businesses working with Myanmar’s military.
“We, alongside our international allies, will hold the Myanmar military to account for their violations of human rights and pursue justice for the Myanmar people,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said.
Myanmar’s military has arrested civilian leaders, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and announced a year-long state of emergency, alleging that an election in November was beset by fraud.
The electoral commission dismissed the army’s complaints.
The military junta, which did not immediately comment on Britain’s decision, has promised a new election and defended its February 1 seizure of power, denying it was a coup.
It has not given a date for a new election.
The UK’s measures are being taken in tandem with Canada, which imposed sanctions on nine Myanmar military officials.
“We work alongside our international partners who call for the restoration of the democratically elected government, and we echo their calls for the Myanmar military to release those who have been unjustly detained in the military takeover,” Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said in the statement.
Last week, Washington imposed new sanctions on the Myanmar military, including their business interests and family members.
US President Joe Biden said the country was taking steps to prevent the generals in Myanmar having access to $US1 billion ($1.29 billion) in Myanmar government funds held in the US.
But the army has closer ties to neighbouring China and to Russia, which have taken a softer approach.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi yesterday said he had agreed with his US, Indian and Australian counterparts in the so-called Quad grouping that democracy must be restored quickly in Myanmar.
He “expressed grave concern for the deteriorating situation in Myanmar, and explained that Japan was strongly urging the Myanmar military to immediately stop violence against citizens including shootings, release those who have been detained including State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and swiftly restore Myanmar’s democratic political system,” a statement from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
India’s statement was less forthright.
“In the discussion pertaining to recent developments in Myanmar, the upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition was reiterated by India. Noting that regular Quad consultations hold value, the ministers agreed to continue these useful discussions,” it read.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne last week said Australia’s military cooperation with Myanmar was “under review”. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.