EU countries on Monday expanded sanctions against Myanmar’s military leadership, targeting 10 additional officials and two military-controlled companies over a coup and the suppression of peaceful protests that followed.
“The individuals targeted by sanctions are all responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar/Burma, and for repressive decisions and serious human rights violations,” said a statement by the Council of the EU.
The two targeted companies, the statement added, “are large conglomerates that operate in many sectors of Myanmar’s economy.” Notably, it said, they are owned by the military “and provide revenue for it.”
The goal of the punishments, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, is to force the military into talks.
“We’re turning up the pressure in order to get the military to the negotiating table,” Maas said.
Myanmar’s armed forces, the Tatmadaw, forcefully dispatched the country’s civilian government in early February, removing civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint from office. The EU and other countries such as the U.S. and U.K. immediately condemned the move, labeling it a coup. Myanmar is also facing international criticism for violently cracking down on peaceful protests that erupted in response to the takeover.
“The junta’s increasing brutality has clear consequences,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
The EU measures come on top of sanctions adopted last month, which hit 11 high-ranking Myanmar military and administration officials, as well as an arms embargo and previous sanctions against military officials that were adopted in 2018 over atrocities against the Rohingya population, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority group in the country.
In total, the EU’s sanctions list now includes 35 Myanmar officials and two companies. The sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes.