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EU, US imposes sanctions on 11 Burmese officials over coup violence

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EU, US imposes sanctions on 11 Burmese officials over coup violence | Thaiger

The European Union, along with the US is issuing sanctions on 11 Myanmar officials over military violence against anti-coup protesters. 10 top military officers were among those to receive sanctions which include travel bans and the freezing of assets. 2 senior officals, including the national police chief were also targetted by the EU.

The eleventh person to be sanctioned is the head of the election commission who cancelled last year’s democratic vote, seeing the National League for Democracy winning by a landslide. Myanmar’s military junta prevented Parliament from convening on February 1, after claiming the democratic election results were fraudulent.

The State and Treasury department says it hit chief of police, Than Hlaing, and the commander of the Bureau of Special Operations, Lt Gen Aung Soe with sanctions along with 2 military units.

“These designations show that this violence will not go unanswered.”

The statement, issued during a meeting of EU foreign ministers, said the sanctions are a “robust response to the illegitimate over-throwing of the democratically-elected government and the brutal repression by the junta against peaceful protesters.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the new sanctions demonstrate the international community’s commitment to the people of Burma, while Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, echoed the condemnation.

“What we are seeing in the way of excesses of violence there is absolutely unacceptable; the number of killings has taken on intolerable dimensions. We don’t want to punish the population in Myanmar with sanctions, but those who are blatantly violating human rights there.”

Myanmar’s military has been accused of violently cracking down on anti-coup protesters, killing hundreds since the coup began in February. The UN has issued several statements indicating that crimes against humanity are likely being committed.

In response, the military says they are prepared to go it alone, citing they have always persisted despite deflecting the international community.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Good, and why not sanctions against Thailand politicians? Their police are committing violations of human rights at every protest.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    So that’s a “robust response”?

    A travel ban to stop them going to places they weren’t going to, and freezing foreign assets they don’t have?

    They must be quaking in their boots.

    What’s next?

    Banning all eleven of them from participating in Miss International Queen?

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Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Myanmar

$85 to retrieve the dead after bloody Burmese military clash

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$85 to retrieve the dead after bloody Burmese military clash | Thaiger
PHOTO: Bago was the site of a bloody crackdown yesterday.

Activists say the Burmese military is charging $85 to families to recover the bodies that security forces killed in Friday’s violent clash. The city of Bago, about 90 km northeast of Yangon, was raided by military forces with 82 people killed according to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local advocacy group. Since the February 1 coup, the military has been systematically cracking down against peaceful protesters, detaining 3,000 people and killing over 700 more.

Eyewitnesses in Bago say the Burmese military used grenades, RPGs, and assault rifles to quell anti-coup protestors, forcing many villagers and activists to flee and go into hiding. Military security forces are going through the neighbourhoods now and have cut off internet access. Burmese forces claimed they were attacked by protestors while removing road barriers, alleging that demonstrators used homemade guns, shields, grenades, arrows and fire bottles.

In the aftermath of the bloody clash, the military charged families 120,000 Burmese Kyat (about $85) to collect the bodies of lost relatives. This was reported by Bago University Students’ Union’s Facebook page as well as Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service.

NGO Human Rights Watch had published a call for the European Union to take action and implement strict sanctions on the Burmese military on Thursday. And yesterday the US Embassy in Myanmar joined the call, posting on Twitter, urging peace.

“We mourn the senseless loss of life in Bago and around the country where regime forces have reportedly used weapons of war against civilians. The regime has the ability to resolve the crisis and needs to start by ending violence and attacks.”

A volunteer doctor who chairs the Red Cross in Bago had been detained by the Burmese military police on April 2, and yesterday a second volunteer doctor was taken after administering free medical aid to protestors, according to his family.

Meanwhile, the military’s commander-in-chief and another spokesman maintain that the Burmese military are peacekeepers, trying to strengthen the democratic system of Myanmar by safeguarding the country and investigating a fraudulent election. They deny that they seized power and blame the violence and death in the country on protestors rioting.

SOURCE: CNN

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Myanmar

More bitter clashes yesterday in Myanmar with the toll rising to 618

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More bitter clashes yesterday in Myanmar with the toll rising to 618 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Burmese troops attack residents in Bago - Kadeshan

“618 Burmese civilians, including 48 children, have been killed by the army and their security forces since the February 1 coup.”

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reports that Burmese soldiers have killed 80 civilian protesters near Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. Myanmar Now reports the number as 82…

“The junta’s armed forces crushed a key protest stronghold in Bago’s Ma Ga Dit road in a pre-dawn attack…. Soldiers have been stationed at the Zeyar Muni pagoda compound in the town and have taken dead bodies inside…. “There could be at least 57 dead bodies inside the pagoda compound as well as three bodies at a local morgue and one that was cremated immediately”.

Witnesses say troops used rifle grenades against protesters in Bago.

“A leader of the protest column in Bago said no one could go outside as soldiers were shooting at anybody they saw on the streets,” according to Myanmar Now.

The reporting of numbers of civilian deaths has become more complicated since the Army chiefs ordered a switch off of communications and internet, throttling the communications between people and groups inside the country. The story of the 82 people massacred in Bago took more than 24 hours to emerge.

Another Bago resident told AFP that Army officials wouldn’t allow rescue workers near the bodies.

“They piled up all the dead bodies, loaded them into their army truck and drove it away,” he told AFP.

Footage from Al Jazeera here…

 

Yesterday, in Tamu, Sagaing Region, in far northwest Myanmar, locals ambushed Burmese security forces with home-made rifles as they tried to enter the town to confront protesters. At least 3 soldiers and one local resident were killed in that clash.

Meanwhile, forces calling themselves the ‘Three Brotherhood Alliance’ of ethnic armed organisations attacked a police station yesterday, 25 kilometres outside of Lashio, deep in the northern Shan State near the Chinese border, resulting in the death of many police. Myanmar Now reports that 8 police were killed in the attack, including the police chief.

Troops from the Arakan Army , the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army were involved in the strike, according to local residents.

The Brotherhood Alliance is also a part of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee led by the United Wa State Army, an organisation trying to unite Myanmar’s disparate ethnic groups against the Burmese army.

In another update, according to AFP, 19 people were reported to have been sentenced to death for killing an associate of an army captain near Yangon, the first sentences of that nature announced on military-owned TV outlets. Only 2 of the sentenced are currently in custody, the others were sentenced in absentia.

SOURCES: AFP | Myanmar Now

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Thailand

UN special envoy in Thailand to meet Foreign Minister about Myanmar crisis

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UN special envoy in Thailand to meet Foreign Minister about Myanmar crisis | Thaiger
PHOTO: Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener - The MM Times

The UN’s special envoy on Myanmar is meeting with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in ongoing diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution for the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.

But Thai officials have put her quarantine ahead of the needs of the Burmese people with Christine Schraner Burgener, who arrived in Bangkok yesterday, having to spend 7 days in ASQ before meeting in person with FM Don. The special envoy received 2 doses of Covid vaccine before her departure to Thailand.

She is visiting Thailand as part of a quick (well, not so quick with the imposed 7 day delay) diplomatic tour around ASEAN nations to “explore possible solutions” to the continuing carnage in Myanmar brought about by the Tatmadaw following a military coup on February 1. Nearly 600 civilians have been killed by gangs of soldiers under orders to crackdown on protesters who insist on a return of the civilian Aung San Suu Kyi government.

In the November general election in Myanmar, the military backed parties only gained 17% of the total vote. Military chiefs say that there was “voting irregularities” despite Myanmar’s independent election commission claiming the vote was “free and fair”.

Christine Schraner Burgener, a former Swiss ambassador to Thailand, has served as the special envoy on Myanmar for 3 years. Her specific mandate from the UN is to “support the reform, reconciliation and democratisation processes in Myanmar, as well as to address violence in Rakhine State and Rohingya displaced persons”.

Thailand’s government whilst calling for a peaceful resolution has held back from more forceful language over the violence in the neighbouring country. The government has also come under fire from NGOs stationed on the border, monitoring the flow of refugees crossing from Myanmar, who claim the government has been doing little to help and, in some cases, just turning the refugees back and refusing them entry.

According to Thai PBS World, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry says that Thailand is “deeply concerned”.

“We are committed to cooperating and engaging constructively with the international community, including through the UN and ASEAN, in order to find a peaceful solution for Myanmar and its people. We hope that this visit to the region by the Special Envoy can contribute towards possible solutions.”

AFP quoted UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric as saying that the junta in Myanmar has not yet given Burgener a “green light” to visit the country..

With the backing of the UN Security Council, Christine Schraner Burgener says she wants to visit detained civilian leaders, mostly from the NLD ruling party (before February 1, including the Myanmar President Wint Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World | AFP

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