The US government hit four Burmese army commanders and its two military units with punitive sanctions, for their leading roles in serious human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing of minority Rohingya from their homes and some other minorities in Kachin and Shan states.
Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the US Treasury, in an announcement on Friday, 17 August said, “Burmese security forces have engaged in violent campaigns against ethnic minority communities across Burma, including ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual assault, extrajudicial killings, and other serious human rights abuses,”
The sanctions seek to lock the accused out of global financial and commercial networks and freeze any overseas assets they have. The sanctions on individuals have been a warning to security forces to cease abuses of ethnic and religious minorities and to respect their rights.
The aaccused commanders were Aung Kyaw Zaw, Khin Maung Soe, Khin Hlaing, and Thura San Lwin. Aung Kyaw Zaw was singled out for having presided over the operations that drove some 700,000 Rohingya from their homes in Arakan state of Burma into neighboring Bangladesh since 2016.The campaign has led to numerous extrajudicial killings, rape and burning of villages by security forces.
“Khin Maung Soe was in charge of a command which participated in a massacre of Rohingya on August 27, 2017 in Maung Nu, where soldiers reportedly beat, sexually assaulted and summarily executed or otherwise killed dozens of Rohingya villagers,” the Treasury said.
The two military units also sanctioned for involvement in those abuses were The 33rd Light Infantry Division, (one of two military units that were sactioned) participated in Rohingya abuses.
“There must be justice for the victims and those who work to uncover these atrocities, with those responsible held to account for these abhorrent crimes,” said the Under Secretary.