UK Sanctions Burma Junta Leaders After Coup

February 18, 2021 Updated: February 18, 2021

Britain is imposing asset freezes and travel bans against three members of the military regime of Burma (also known as Myanmar) for their roles in “serious human rights violations” during the coup, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on Feb. 18.

The measures, taken in tandem with Canada, are in addition to the sanctions against 16 members of the Burmese military already listed by the UK, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) stated in a press release.

Burma’s military seized power on Feb. 1 and arrested leaders of the civilian government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

The British government accused Burma’s military and police of committing “serious human rights violations, including violating the right to life, the right to freedom of assembly, the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to freedom of expression.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “The UK condemns the military coup and the arbitrary detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political figures.”

“We, alongside our international allies, will hold the Myanmar military to account for their violations of human rights and pursue justice for the Myanmar people,” he said in a Feb. 18 statement.

Police in riot gear march
Police in riot gear march to take a position to block demonstrators at an intersection during a protest in Mandalay, Burma, on Feb. 9, 2021. (AP Photo)

The UK will impose sanctions on Burma’s defence minister, Gen. Mya Tun Oo, for his responsibility for serious human rights violations by the military.

Lt. Gen. Soe Htut, Burma’s home affairs minister, along with his deputy, Lt. Gen. Than Hlaing, will be sanctioned for his role in serious human rights violations by the country’s police force.

In addition to the sanctions, the government said it is stepping up its effort to stop UK businesses working with the Burmese military junta.

The Foreign Office and the Department for International Trade have launched an enhanced due diligence process to mitigate the risk of Burmese junta-related businesses operating in the UK and associated illicit money flows.

Also, the UK is putting in place further safeguards to prevent UK aid from indirectly supporting the military led government.

The government has axed official assistance to Burma in support of government-led reforms, and will ensure aid is reaching only the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.