Rohingya Violence: Australia slaps sanctions on 5 top Myanmar army officers
Australia yesterday slapped travel and financial sanctions on five top Myanmar military officers, accused of overseeing brutal violence against Rohingya Muslims by units under their command, following similar moves by the European Union and United States.
More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh last year, according to UN agencies, following a counter-insurgency operation launched by Myanmar's military after attacks on security posts by Rohingya militants in August last year.
A recent UN report accused Myanmar's military of gang rapes and mass killings with "genocidal intent" and called for its commander-in-chief and five generals to be prosecuted under international law.
Myanmar has denied most of the allegations in the report, blaming Rohingya "terrorists" for most accounts of atrocities.
However Australia, which has previously provided training for Myanmar's army and refrained from imposing sanctions, yesterday responded to the UN report by targeting four of the men named, and one other senior commander.
"I have now imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against five Myanmar military officers responsible for human rights violations committed by units under their command," Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
A separate document named the officers; Aung Kyaw Zaw, Aung Aung, Maung Maung Soe, Than Oo and Khin Maung Soe. It said financial dealings with them can now attract penalties of A$1.7 million ($1.2 million) for companies and 10 years jail for individuals.