US adds Myanmar army chief to Magnitsky sanction list

US adds Myanmar army chief to Magnitsky sanction list

Treasury Dept. says ‘Hlaing’s military forces were responsible for the brutal security operation … in Rakhine State’

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Tuesday designated four Myanmar officials, including the army chief, for human rights abuses in country’s Rakhine state.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released the list of Global Magnitsky Designations that sanctioned Commander-in-Chief of the military, Min Aung Hlaing, for his role in human rights abuse.

The list includes the military’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win, Than Oo, a leader of the 99th Light Infantry Division (LID) and Aung Aung, a leader of the 33rd LID.

“The United States will not tolerate torture, kidnapping, sexual violence, murder, or brutality against innocent civilians,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “America is the world leader in combatting human rights abuse and we will hold perpetrators and enablers accountable wherever they operate.”

The department said “Hlaing’s military forces were responsible for the brutal security operation that began in August 2017 in Rakhine State” as well as forcing hundreds of thousands people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.”

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

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