New Delhi: The US has announced new sanctions on Myanmar’s military regime, which seized power from a democratically elected government in a coup on February 1, 2021. The sanctions, which mark the third anniversary of the coup, target entities and individuals that are closely linked to the junta and its violent repression of the civilian population.
The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Shwe Bien Phu Group of Companies, a major supplier of petroleum products to the Myanmar Army. The company has a profit-sharing agreement with Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), a military-owned conglomerate that controls a large share of the country’s economy. The Treasury Department also sanctioned Myanmar Five Star Line, a shipping company that is wholly owned by MEHL and provides maritime transportation services to the junta. The Treasury Department said that these entities enable the junta to access foreign currency and import essential materials for its operations, including aerial bombardment and weapons production.
The US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that the sanctions aim to deprive the junta of the resources that fuel its brutal attacks on civilians, who have been protesting against the coup and demanding the restoration of democracy. He said that the US continues to call for the junta to change its course and engage in meaningful and inclusive dialogue with the National Unity Government, the elected representatives of the people, and other stakeholders. He also said that the US stands with the people of Myanmar in their quest for freedom, peace, and justice.
The US has been leading the international pressure on the Myanmar military, which has killed more than 1,700 people and arrested more than 10,000 since the coup, according to human rights groups. The US has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on the junta and its cronies, as well as restricting trade and aid to the country. The US has also coordinated with its allies and partners, such as the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Japan, to impose similar measures. However, the junta has shown no sign of relenting and has extended the state of emergency for another six months, claiming that it is necessary to restore stability and peace.