EU sanctions top Myanmar generals

Brussels (dpa) – The EU has imposed sanctions on top representatives of the armed forces following the military coup in Myanmar. Those concerned are accused of being responsible for the killing of unarmed demonstrators and of restricting freedom of assembly and expression. They are also alleged to have facilitated arbitrary arrests and detentions.

In addition to ten military officers, the chairman of the Union Election Commission, Thein Soem, has also been sanctioned. He is accused of being involved in undermining democracy and the rule of law in his home country by not recognising the election results. Among the military officers affected by the punitive measures are the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Min Aung Hlaing, and General Mya Tun Oo, who was appointed Defence Minister on 1 February.

In the Southeast Asian state of Myanmar, the military had staged a coup against the head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the beginning of February. Protests against the generals and their junta again claimed many lives at the weekend. Around seven weeks after the coup, the number of dead has risen to at least 250, and almost 2700 people have been arrested, according to the prisoners’ aid organisation AAPP on Twitter. It said the actual number was probably far higher, however.

“What we are seeing there in terms of violent excesses is absolutely unacceptable,” commented German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) in Brussels, adding that the number of murders had “reached an intolerable level”.

Under the EU sanctions regime, those concerned have their assets frozen and are no longer allowed to be provided with money or economic resources. They will also be banned from entering the European Union. “We do not want to punish the people of Myanmar with sanctions, but those who blatantly violate human rights there,” said Maas.

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