New Myanmar sanctions imposed as anti-coup activists plan action

The United States and its allies have imposed further sanctions on Myanmar’s military rulers amid deepening conflict two years since the military seized power in a coup.

Washington imposed sanctions on six individuals and three entities “linked to the regime’s efforts to generate revenue and secure arms”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Officials from the military’s lucrative energy firm Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) as well as its Mining Enterprise 1 and 2 were among those targeted, and so too was the air force.

Reflecting the growing concern about the devastation caused by the air raids – 11 children were killed when a school in the Sagaing region was hit by a bomb last September – Canada and the United Kingdom imposed new measures on the supply and sale of aviation fuel.

The UK targeted units of the Asia Sun Group, which dominates the aviation fuel sector in Myanmar, while Canada moved to suspend the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer – including transit, transhipment and brokering – of aviation fuel in the country.

Montse Ferre, Amnesty International’s business and human rights researcher, welcomed the focus on aviation fuel and urged more countries to follow Canada’s lead.

“This suspension must continue until effective mechanisms are put in place to ensure that aviation fuel will not be used to carry out air strikes that amount to serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law,” she said in a statement.

Australia was also among the countries announcing new sanctions two years after a military coup that removed the elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government of Aung San Suu Kyi and plunged the country into crisis.

Anti-coup activists have called for businesses nationwide to close on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the coup.

Protesters in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, hung banners on several bridges calling for people to join the “revolution”, images published by local media showed.

Activists have called for people to take part in a “silent strike” and stay off the streets from 10am (03:30 GMT) until 4pm. In Bangkok, Manila and Seoul protesters gathered outside the Myanmar embassy to show their support for the people of Myanmar.

“We stand with the Myanmar people’s silent strike,” read one placard in Seoul.