Britain and the United States impose sanctions on the Myanmar military-owned conglomerate

Protesters rally against the military coup in Mandalay earlier this month. (AP photo)

London: Britain and the United States announced today the imposition of sanctions on the military-owned Myanmar Economic Holding Group (MEHL) as part of “additional measures” targeting the post-coup regime.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement: “Today’s sanctions target the financial interests of the military to help drain sources of funding for its crackdown on civilians.”

Washington announced shortly thereafter that it would impose sanctions on MEHL as well as the Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).

A Treasury Department statement said that the Myanmar military “controls large sectors of the country’s economy through these holding companies.”

Firms dominate many major sectors of the economy, including trade, natural resources, alcohol, cigarettes, and consumer goods.

The United States said: “These sanctions specifically target the economic resources of the Burmese military regime, which is responsible for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Burma and the continued repression of the Burmese people.”

“These sanctions are not directed at the people of Burma,” he added.

Britain said the designation was in response to evidence that the Department of Health and Human Services contributed funds to support the country’s armed forces “in their campaign for ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya in 2017.”

The new sanctions come on the heels of the appointment last month of nine members of the ruling military council in Myanmar, which Britain said were directly responsible for human rights violations committed by the police and the army during the recent coup.

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