A series of EU sanctions introduced against the members of Myanmar armed forces “are a direct response to the appalling violence, including sexual violence, that took place in Rakhine last year”, the British government said Monday.
“The individuals listed were responsible for units that have been identified as the perpetrators of this violence,” Mark Field, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister for Asia said.
Field’s comments followed a decision by the EU to impose an asset freeze and a travel ban Monday on seven members of the Myanmar’s military and police force.
The sanctions have been introduced due to the individuals’ involvement in atrocities and human rights violations that targeted the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.
The decision underlined that the violations included unlawful killings, sexual violence and the systematic burning of Rohingya houses in 2017.
Field said the U.K. was “involved in identifying the individuals in question, and led on collecting the evidence required to build the legal case for sanctions against them,” and “was instrumental in delivering today’s introduction of targeted sanctions.”
Field underlined that the sanctions are “a message to the Burmese military”.
He said the situation in Myanmar was being watched by the international community and more names could be added to the list of those facing sanctions.
“We will continue to monitor closely the Burmese military’s behavior across Burma, and build evidence as necessary,” Field said.
Describing the “human rights violations” in Rakhine as “horrific”, the British minister added that the “U.K. pressure -- and international pressure -- will not stop until there is accountability for the perpetrators, and justice for the victims.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children, and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24 last year, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published recently, the humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The Rohingya, described by the U.N. as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The U.N. documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, U.N. investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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