EU to penalise Myanmar officials over Rohingya violations


LUXEMBOURG: The European Union will impose sanctions on seven Myanmar security officials on Monday, according to EU diplomats and officials, over what it says are systemic human rights violations against the country’s Rohingya Muslims.

The seven will face asset freezes and be banned from traveling to the European Union, after the bloc extended an arms embargo and prohibited any training of or cooperation with Myanmar’s armed forces.

The sanctions also mark a shift in diplomacy by the EU, which suspended its restrictive measures on the Southeast Asian country in 2012 to support its partial shift to democratic governance in recent years.

But the plight of nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, which the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing by the military, has soured relations. Yangon rejects all accusations of wrongdoing.

Last December, the United States levied sanctions in response to the crackdown on the Rohingya minority in Rakhine.

Canada followed suit in February, when Reuters also reported on events in the village of Inn Din, where 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys were hacked to death by Rakhine Buddhist villagers or shot by security force members.

The killings were part of the larger army crackdown on the Rohingya. Two Reuters journalists were jailed while reporting the story and remain in prison in Yangon, where they face up to 14 years behind bars for violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act.