U.S. punishes Myanmar organisations ahead of the revolution anniversary

    Image credit: WHK Radio

    As the two-year anniversary of the revolution that overthrew Myanmar’s civilian government approaches, the U.S. announced on Tuesday that it was putting sanctions on a number of people and organisations linked to the military government there.

    According to the Treasury Department, penalties were planned for six individuals and three organisations, including the nation’s electoral commission, various mining companies and their CEOs, and former and present military personnel. Access to funds and resources that are under American control is prohibited under the sanctions.

    The penalties come as Myanmar’s military has carried out aerial bombings and other actions targeting pro-democracy forces, murdering and uprooting civilians. The NGO Myanmar Eyewitness and other analysts claim that the army is dependent on fighter jets and helicopter gunships provided by its supporters, Russia and China.

    A new rule limiting the registration of political parties has also been passed by Myanmar’s military-controlled administration, making it more challenging for opposition leaders to effectively oppose candidates favoured by the military in a national election later this year.

    The administration bases the imposition of the penalties on an executive order from February 2021 that was issued by President Joe Biden.

    According to a statement from Brian Nelson, Treasury’s assistant secretary for financial intelligence and terrorism, “the U.S. Department of the Treasury, along with partner countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, continue to stand with the people of Burma as they seek freedom and democracy.”

    A military coup in February 2021 forced out State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. Her ruling National League for Democracy party, which had won a resounding victory for a second term in a general election held in November 2020, was also detained by authorities.

    Massive armed rebellion and a protracted civil war in Myanmar resulted from the military crackdown.

    A human rights monitoring group alleged in a report on Tuesday that Myanmar’s military is increasingly employing deadly airstrikes to try to crush steadfast armed resistance two years after gaining power.

    According to the independent Support Organization for Political Prisoners, a watchdog organisation that keeps tabs on killings and detentions in Myanmar, since the army took over, there have been 2,940 civilian deaths and 17,572 detentions by the government.