The United States on Friday announced sanctions against military officials and individuals and companies tied to Myanmar’s military in the latest response to the February 1 coup in the Southeast Asian country.  The U.S. Treasury Department officially sanctioned seven senior military officials for the government’s use of lethal force against pro-democracy supporters. It also sanctioned 15 individuals who are family members of previously sanctioned officials and whose “financial networks have contributed to military officials’ ill-gotten gains.”The Treasury’s statement emphasized that these sanctions are not directed at the citizens of Myanmar and are intended to increase financial burdens on Myanmar’s military by cutting off all 22 designated individuals from any assets they may have in the U.S. In a complementary action, the Department of Commerce restricted trade exports to four companies it said support the military’s ongoing actions. Commerce identified the companies as King Royal Technologies Co. Ltd., which “provides satellite communications services” to the Myanmar military, and three copper mining entities with financial ties to the regime: Wanbao Mining and its two subsidiaries, Myanmar Wanbao Mining Copper Ltd. and Myanmar Yang Tse Copper Ltd. All four companies were placed on the department’s trade blacklist, officially known as the entity list, which restricts U.S. exports to entities on the list with limited exceptions.Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo speaks during a press briefing at the White House, in Washington, April 7, 2021.“We continue encouraging like-minded allies and partners to join the United States in imposing costs on these four entities and clamping down on other sources of revenue that support the repressive and undemocratic activities of the Burmese military,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in a Friday statement. “The U.S. government will continue to promote accountability for the perpetrators of the coup and stand with the people of Burma and their democratic institutions.”The increased restrictions come just days after the U.N. released its latest update on the continuing violence against citizens in Myanmar. According to the report, the military has killed at least 883 unarmed people and detained over 5,200 activists, journalists and opponents of the coup. An additional 2,000 people with active warrants for their arrest are in hiding. “The U.N. team in Myanmar continues to strongly condemn the widespread use of lethal force and other serious violations of human rights,” said U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric. “Our colleagues underscore that the use of excessive force by security forces, including the use of live ammunition, must stop and must stop now.”Myanmar’s military overthrew the newly elected government of the National League for Democracy in February over claims that the election results were fraudulent. The country’s election commission rejected the military’s claims of fraud. Despite a lack of evidence, the military overtook the government by invoking an article from the country’s 2008 constitution that allows it to declare a one-year state of emergency. During the coup, the military arrested Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the leader of the National League for Democracy party and received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to democratize the country. In June, 119 member countries of the U.N., including the U.S., officially condemned the coup. Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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