Several government ministers, military coup leaders and adult members of their families are among the targets.
The United States has imposed new sanctions on 22 people, including four Myanmar government ministers, in response to the February military coup and attacks on the country’s pro-democracy movement.
In a double action, the Treasury and Commerce departments announced the punishments on Friday as part of Washington’s continued response to the overthrow of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the new sanctions were imposed “in response to the brutal campaign of violence perpetrated by the Burmese military regime and to continue to impose costs in connection with the military coup.”
The sanctions are not aimed at the people of Myanmar, but are aimed at pressuring the military to “immediately re-establish the path to democracy in Burma (Myanmar),” Blinken said.
The sanctions are aimed at Myanmar’s Minister of Information, Chit Naing, the Minister of Investment, Aung Naing Oo, the Minister of Labor and Immigration, Myint Kyaing, and Thet Thet Khine, the Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.
Three members of the powerful State Administrative Council, as well as 15 spouses and adult children of civil servants, also received sanctions in an expansion of U.S. punishments imposed in February, March, and May after the coup.
Under sanctions, all U.S. property on behalf of individuals is blocked and Americans or U.S. individuals are prohibited from conducting property or interest transactions with them.
Andrea Gacki, director of the Office of Control of Foreign Treasury Assets, said in a statement that the action shows that Washington “will continue to impose increasing costs on the Burmese military and promote accountability for those responsible for the military coup and of continuous violence “.
The United States and other Western countries they have already imposed various sanctions against people in Myanmar since the coup.
Number of victims
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department sanctioned four business entities: King Royal Technologies Co., which provides satellite communications services that support the military; and Wanbao Mining and its two subsidiaries, which have revenue-sharing agreements with a company that helps fund the country’s defense ministry.
The actions come when Myanmar rejected new figures released by the United Nations, which said there were reports from the country that security forces had killed at least 883 unarmed people, including at least 40 believed to have been detained.
At a briefing on Tuesday, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that the world agency’s team also determined that 5,202 people were detained as a result of their opposition to the military takeover.
Tonight has been successfully demonstrated the candlelight night strike against the youth-led military dictatorship of the village of Nyaw Pyin, Launglon township. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar # July2Coup pic.twitter.com/Pdg1xMrJcY
– Nyinyi (@ Nyinyi92381213) July 3, 2021
Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “strongly opposes” the numbers presented by the United Nations.
“The United Nations is requested not to publish unilateral observations without verification and to verify sensitive information with the relevant focal ministries prior to its publication,” the statement added.
Authorities released more than 2,000 protesters on Wednesday against the coup of prisons across Myanmar, including local journalists jailed after critically reporting on military repression.
On Saturday, there were reports of the possible release of more people from prison as the country’s military leader, Gen Min Aung Hlaing, celebrates his birthday.
Meanwhile, protesters continued to challenge the leadership of Min Aung Hlaing, and several protests held across the country on Saturday denounced him. Many protesters also held a symbolic cremation of his image while placing funeral wreaths emblazoned with the general’s name.
Protests were even held in the country’s second city, Mandalay, despite a blockade order on Friday due to the spread of COVID. The order covers at least two million residents.
Myanmar’s crunchy health system has already been struggling to respond to the pandemic even before the February coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi.
Since the coup, thousands of doctors, volunteers and officials have joined a massive civil disobedience campaign to protest the military regime.
Myanmar has reported 3,347 virus-related deaths, although actual numbers are likely to be higher.