US should strengthen targeted sanctions on Myanmar - HRW


A Myanmar policeman stands guard s at the Myoma KaNyinTan Muslim quarter in Maungdaw township, Rakhine State, Western Myanmar, 06 September 2017. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

A Myanmar policeman stands guard s at the Myoma KaNyinTan Muslim quarter in Maungdaw township, Rakhine State, Western Myanmar, 06 September 2017. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

The US Congress should adopt legislation to enhance targeted sanctions against Myanmar military commanders who are implicated in serious human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said yesterday in a letter to US congressional leaders with 45 other nongovernmental and faith-based organizations.

The groups said it is “imperative” Congress to address the human rights crisis in Myanmar. The United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and other rights groups have found that alleged atrocities against the Rohingya amount to crimes against humanity. Important new measures to toughen targeted sanctions are pending with key congressional leaders. The legislation is needed to address the Myanmar military’s alleged campaign of ethnic cleansing against the ethnic Rohingya and the country’s sharply deteriorating human rights situation.

“More than 400 members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have agreed tougher measures are needed now to address the Myanmar military’s crimes,” said John Sifton, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Congress needs to send strong sanctions legislation to the White House as soon as possible.”

The House of Representatives recently and overwhelmingly approved provisions for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that strengthen targeted sanctions on Myanmar military officials who are implicated in serious human rights abuses. Similar language, supported by 22 Senators from both parties, was approved with unanimous bipartisan support by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Technical and procedural hurdles prevented the language from being included in the NDAA when approved by the full Senate.

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