Britain, Canada sanction Myanmar’s generals after coup

Britain and Canada on Thursday imposed sanctions on generals in Myanmar for human rights abuses following the military takeover of the Southeast Asian country.

The British Foreign Office said it had imposed sanctions on three junta officials, including defense and home affairs ministers, and had launched a review to stop British companies working with the regime.

“Britain condemns the military coup and the arbitrary detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a statement, referring to Myanmar’s de facto leaders arrested during the coup.

“We, together with our international allies, will hold the Myanmar military to account for their human rights violations and strive for justice for the Myanmar people,” he added.

The United States has already sanctioned Myanmar’s leaders after the February 1 coup.

Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau announced a broader list of sanctions affecting nine officials in Myanmar.

“The sanctions announced today are part of a unified response to send a clear message that Canada will not accept the actions of the Myanmar military and their complete disregard for Myanmar’s will and democratic rights,” he said.

The coup ended a decade of transition from full military rule in Myanmar and saw the arrest of Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders.

The generals justified the act of power by claiming fraud in the November election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won in a landslide.

The British sanctions were placed on Defense Minister Mya Tun Oo, Home Secretary Lieutenant General Soe Htut and his Deputy Home Secretary, Lieutenant General Than Hlaing.

The government pointed to the role that ministers played in directing security services when it banned them from traveling to the UK and froze all assets they could have in the UK.

But the activist group Burma Campaign UK said the sanctions amount to a limit for leisure travel.

“These military leaders will have no assets in the UK to freeze, so the practical result of these types of sanctions is that they cannot take a holiday in the UK,” said Mark Farmaner, campaign manager.

Foreign ministers from the G7 group of rich countries said in a joint statement earlier this week that they were “deeply concerned” about the coup in Myanmar.