Trump administration has now hit Myanmar with latest sanctions over its brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims under its ‘ethnic cleansing’ program. Taking serious note of this, the latest US sanctions have come to haunt four military and police commanders in addition to two units of army. They have been accused of rampant human rights abuses against the community.
The sanctions are said to be the hardest action by US against the crackdown on Myanmar for its atrocities on Rohingya group which forced the latter to fled to neighbouring countries for safety and many thousands dead.
Despite the sanctions, Trump administration has not targeted the top-most military levels and has not labelled the governmental campaign as a crime against humanity or genocide. Latter has remained as the main object of debate in US. The sanctions have come as Mike Pompeo is set to issue the results of the investigation of abuses against the Rohingyas in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. The report will be released around August 26, one year after the bloodiest atrocities took place against the community. Sigal Mandelkar, the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence has stated that the Burmese government has indulged in brutal campaigns against the Rohingya minority involving ethnic cleansing, massacres, severe abuses of human rights, sexual assaults etc. She further added that, “Treasury is sanctioning units and leaders overseeing this horrific behaviour as part of the broader US government strategy to hold accountable those responsible for such wide-scale human suffering”.
The US sanctions have thus hit military commanders Aung Kyaw Zaw, Khin Maung Soe and Khin Hlaingn, police officer Thin San Lwin and 33rd and 99th Light Infantry Divisions. The sanctions include immediate freeze of all US assets held by these, ban on US citizens to do any business with these and a travel ban to US.
The military has, however, denied the allegations of ethnic cleansing and said that the operations it carried out were anti-terrorism acts. Critics and human rights groups have stated that the sanctions have come late and have not included the military chief Min Aung Hlaing.