US hits Myanmar ministers, central bank chief with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States (US) Treasury slapped sanctions on 16 senior Myanmar officials and family members on Monday, citing their support for the government’s “violent and lethal attacks” against the country’s pro-democracy movement.

Among those placed on the Treasury’s blacklist were four members of the military junta’s State Administration Council, seven ministers, the chairman of the military-controlled election commission, and the governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar.

Three others on the lists were children of members of the State Administration Council who had been sanctioned earlier in the wake of the February 1 coup overthrowing the elected government.

Since then the country has experienced protests and strikes which have been put down with force, leaving close to 800 dead, according to a local monitoring group.

Myanmar’s military regime “is violently repressing the pro-democracy movement in the country and is responsible for the ongoing violent and lethal attacks against the people of Burma, including the killing of children”, the Treasury said in a statement.

Anti-coup protesters march during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. PHOTO: AP

The Treasury said that Canada and Britain were also announcing similar sanctions on members of the junta.

Since February, the US and other Western countries have steadily added the leading members of the military regime as well as state enterprises which fund it to its sanctions list to pressure the generals to return to democracy.

The sanctions aim to lock them out of the global trading and financial system by banning US individuals and companies, including banks with US branches, from doing business with them.

The sanctions also block any assets the individuals may have held under US jurisdiction.