US hits Myanmar general in new global rights sanctions


Myanmar policeman stand guard in Maungdaw township, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 06 September 2017. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

The United States blacklisted a number of alleged rights abusers and corrupt officials on Thursday, as a new global sanctions law went into effect.

US diplomats and Treasury officials spent a year compiling evidence of the most brutal and cynical crimes by 14 senior figures and dozens of companies.

Then on Thursday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order blocking any assets that those exposed on the list might have in banks or property on US soil.

Prominent on the list, Myanmar's General Maung Maung Soe is accused of leading a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against his country's persecuted Rohingya minority.

As chief of the army's Western Command, US officials said, he oversaw "killings, sexual violence, and arbitrary arrest as well as the widespread burning of villages."

The blacklist also includes officials and businessmen from Russia, China, Ukraine, Guatemala, Pakistan, Serbia, the Dominican Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Today's actions advance our values and promote the security of the United States, our allies and our partners," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

"We must lead by example, and today's announcement of sanctions demonstrates the United States will continue to pursue tangible and significant consequences for those who commit serious human rights abuse and engage in corruption."

The global act, based on a previous US law that targeted Russian officials, was passed in late 2016 and officials have spent a year compiling the first list.

Just as the list of Russians under US sanctions has expanded regularly since the Magnitsky Act of 2012, the new global blacklist is also expected to grow.

Under the law, US citizens and institutions are forbidden from conducting business with those on the list, and any assets they hold under US jurisdiction are frozen.

© AFP

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