The United States has announced sanctions on Myanmar’s military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and three other military leaders resulting from their function in the “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya minority.
On Tuesday the State Department said it took action after finding credible evidence they were involved in the violence two years in the past that guided about 740,000 Rohingya to escape across the border to Bangladesh.
“With this announcement, America is the first government to publicly take action concerning the most senior leadership of the Burmese military,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
he added that they remain concerned that the Burmese government has taken no actions to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, and there are continued reports of the Burmese military committing human rights violations and injustices throughout the country,”
Also sanctioned were Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win, Brigadier-General Than Oo, and Brigadier Common Aung Aung, as well as the families of all four officers.
Buddhist-majority Myanmar refuses to grant the mostly Muslim Rohingya citizenship or fundamental rights and refers to them as “Bengalis,” inferring that the Rohingya are undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh.
The sanctions are the most seen sign of US disappointment with Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, since it launched political reforms in 2011, with the military rulers reconciling with Washington and eventually allowing an elected political leadership.