The European Union has extended the scope of the punitive measures against Myanmar/Burma by broadening the current arms embargo and strengthening the export of dual-use goods for use by the military and border guard police. The EU has also newly imposed restrictions on the export of equipment for monitoring communications. Moreover, the European Council put a ban on the provision of military training to and military cooperation with the Myanmar/Burma army.
The sanctions are imposed over the killings of Rohingya Muslims and grave human rights abuses. In a prior statement, EU’s foreign ministers called for “targeted restrictive measures against senior military officers of the Myanmar armed forces responsible for serious and systematic human rights violations without delay”. The new measures, which are the bloc’s toughest so far, are widely seen as Brussels’ attempt to hold the Myanmar military accountable for the crimes. Through this move, the EU has effectively joined US and Canadian sanctions that have already been in place for some time.
The punitive measures are going to target certain individuals as well but no names have been disclosed. The United States is, for example, sanctioning Major General Maung Maung Soe, who is accused of a crackdown on the Rohingya minority in Rakhine. Some EU officials suggested that the list was likely to include more than just one senior military officer. The United States, Canada, the EU as well as United Nations, have described the killings in Myanmar as “ethnic cleansing”. More than 680,000 Rohingya people have fled to Bangladesh, the EU said. Brussels’ decision to impose sanctions comes despite the resistance to such measures in the UN Security Council, where veto-wielding Russia and China said earlier this year that the situation in Myanmar was stable and under control.