Two Years of Myanmar Coup, US and Allies Impose Additional Sanctions


Marking the second anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar on Wednesday (01/02), the United States (US) and its allies announced new sanctions against the country.

The United States along with Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia on Tuesday (31/01) imposed sanctions on the United Election Commission, mining companies, energy officials and others, according to a statement from the US Treasury Department.

The statement was the first time the United States has targeted officials, general managers and deputy general managers of the Myanmar Oil and Gas Company (MOGE). The energy company is the largest state-owned revenue-generating company in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Canada targeted six officials and banned the export, sale, supply or delivery of aviation fuel. Australia has also targeted members of the junta and military-run businesses.

Britain also sanctioned two companies and two individuals who helped supply the Myanmar Air Force used to carry out the bombing campaign.

The sanctions came as Myanmar’s military carried out aerial bombardments and other attacks against pro-democracy forces.

UN warns planned elections could be ‘wrong’

On the same day, the UN’s independent special investigator on Myanmar warned that the military junta planned to seek legitimacy by holding “mock” elections this year.

“You can’t have free and fair elections when the opposition is arrested, detained, tortured and executed, journalists are prevented from doing their jobs and criticizing the military is a crime,” Tom Andrews told reporters. United Nations.

Last month, Myanmar’s junta announced plans to hold general elections later this year. To do this, they should have lifted the state of emergency six months in advance.

Observers widely expect the military to announce preparations for a vote this week, with the state of emergency ending on Wednesday (01/02).

However, on Tuesday, the junta-appointed National Security and Defense Council said the country’s situation “has not returned to normal”.

Rules for election participants

The junta recently introduced new rules for electoral parties, which include a major increase in their membership, a move that could stave off military opponents.

The ruler backed the United Solidarity and Development Party, which was defeated by the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the 2015 and 2020 elections.

The NLD and Western countries condemned the election, saying they would not recognize the result.

John Sifton, Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters the United States had yet to match tougher sanctions imposed by the European Union.

“Therefore, the measures taken so far have not weighed enough on the junta to force it to change its behavior,” he said.

Myanmar’s top generals led a coup in February 2021. Since then, the country has been destabilized, imposing a crackdown on dissent.

According to the Independent Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, a watchdog group that tracks killings and arrests in Myanmar, 2,940 civilians have been killed and 17,572 have been arrested by authorities since the military took over. .

ha/pkp (AFP, AP, Reuters)


Chad Sutton

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