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US support actions taken by Canada, EU on Myanmar
The United States on Tuesday said they strongly support the actions taken by Canada and European Union partners to continue the promotion of accountability for the atrocities in Myanmar.
“We strongly support these actions,” said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert in a press statement.
The Department of State is working closely with their allies and partners to promote accountability for those responsible for the ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State, and for serious human rights abuses against members of other minority groups, including in Kachin and Shan States, said the spokesperson.
“To that end, we have taken a number of steps, including: ceasing issuance of visas to current and former senior leaders of the Burmese military; assessing that there is credible information implicating all military units and officers involved in operations in northern Rakhine State, as well as their full chain of command, in the commission of gross violations of human rights, such that those units and individuals are ineligible to receive U.S. assistance; and supporting the mandate of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Burma,” the statement reads.
In December of 2017, the President sanctioned former Western Command Major General Maung Maung Soe for his role in the events related to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, and publicly discussed the possibility of further targeted sanctions, among other actions, against those responsible for human rights abuses.
“The United States has been and will continue to be engaged in a whole-of-government response to the humanitarian and human rights aspects of the crisis in Rakhine State,” said Nauert.
Meanwhile, under pressure from Canada and the European Union, Myanmar military on Monday dismissed a general who is alleged to have led a brutal campaign against Rohingya Muslims last August, reports The Washington Post.
It was an unexpected move, one that suggests the military may be prepared to accept some measure of accountability for the crisis, the report reads.
Even as it announced the firing of Major Gen Maung Maung Soe, however, the military leadership stopped short of blaming him for the operations.
The general, it said, displayed “weakness” in the face of militant attacks on police outposts in the country’s Western Rakhine state in 2016 and 2017, according to a statement from the office of the commander-in-chief of defense services, Min Aung Hlaing, which was posted on Facebook.
The decision came shortly after the EU and Canada announced Monday the imposition of sanctions against Maung Maung Soe and six other military and police officers in Myanmar.
The seven — five army generals, a border guard general and a police commander — face asset freezesand a travel ban in the EU and Canada. Canada previously sanctioned Maung Maung Soe in February under a different act.
However, Myanmar military statement made no mention of the sanctions.