New sanctions imposed on Myanmar as anti-coup activists plan action | News

The United States and its allies have imposed further sanctions on Myanmar’s military rulers amid a deepening conflict two years since the military seized power in a coup.

Washington imposed sanctions on six individuals and three entities “linked to the regime’s efforts to generate revenue and secure weapons,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Officials from the lucrative military energy company Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) as well as its mining companies 1 and 2 were among the targets, as was the air force.

Reflecting growing concern over the devastation caused by airstrikes – 11 children were killed when a school in the Sagaing region was hit by a bomb last September – Canada and the United Kingdom have imposed new measures on the supply and sale of jet fuel.

The UK has targeted units of Asia Sun Group, which dominates Myanmar’s jet fuel sector, while Canada has suspended the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer – including transit, transshipment and brokering – of jet fuel in the country.

Montse Ferre, Amnesty International’s business and human rights researcher, welcomed the focus on jet fuel and called on more countries to follow Canada’s lead.

“This suspension must continue until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that jet fuel is not used to carry out airstrikes that constitute serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law,” she said in a statement.

Australia was also among the countries to announce new sanctions two years after a military coup ousted the elected government of the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Aung San Suu Kyi and plunged the country into crisis.

Anti-coup activists called for the shutdown of businesses across the country on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the coup.

Protesters in Yangon, the country’s largest city, hung banners on several bridges calling on people to join the “revolution”, according to images released by local media.

Activists called on people to take part in a “silent strike” and stay off the streets from 10am (0330 GMT) until 4pm. In Bangkok, Manila and Seoul, protesters gathered outside the Myanmar embassy to show support for the Myanmar people.

“We stand with the silent strike of the Myanmar people,” read one poster in Seoul.

‘Illegal and illegitimate’

With resistance fighters allied with ethnic armed groups battling the military in much of the country, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has described the military rule as “illegal and illegitimate”.

Tom Andrews warned that the regime appeared to be trying to seek legitimacy through elections and called on the international community not to provide any support to the process.

“Instead, they should unequivocally condemn what will be a farcical exercise designed to perpetuate military control over Myanmar’s political system,” he said in a statement ahead of the coup anniversary.

The military tried to justify its seizure of power with claims of fraud in the 2020 election that convincingly returned the NLD to power, although domestic and international observers found nothing untoward in the vote.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who has installed himself as leader, has yet to announce a date for the election, which he has said will be held between February and August.

The army had previously promised elections a year after the coup, and is due to issue a declaration on Wednesday about the state of emergency, which expired on January 31.

Myanmar’s National Defense and Security Council met on Tuesday to discuss the state of the nation and the “unusual circumstances in the country where they are trying to seize state power through insurgent and terrorist means,” in relation to the anti-coup movement, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar .

The election plan has been criticized internationally and the latest round of US sanctions also targeted the military-controlled Union Election Commission after tough new rules on political parties were unveiled last week.

The new rules appear designed to sideline the NLD and prop up the military proxy, the Union Solidarity and Development Party said.

The NLD, whose members including Aung San Suu Kyi have been arrested and jailed since the coup, called the election a “fake” and said it would not recognize it.

“Many key political stakeholders have announced their refusal to participate in these elections, which will be neither inclusive nor representative, and will almost certainly spark more bloodshed,” Blinken said in a statement.

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