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U.S., UK sanction Myanmar companies

Christian Fernsby |
The United States and the UK announced Thursday sanctions on businesses controlled by the Myanmar military.

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Topics: U.S.    MYANMAR   

The U.S. Treasury sanctions involve Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Ltd. and the Myanmar Economic Corporation Ltd. Britain placed a similar penalty against MEHL.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two military holding companies, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).

The Burmese military controls significant segments of the country’s economy through these holding firms, which enjoy a privileged position in the Burmese economy.

The companies dominate certain sectors of the economy, including trading, natural resources, alcohol, cigarettes, and consumer goods.

These sanctions specifically target the economic resources of Burma’s military regime, which is responsible for the overthrow of Burma’s democratically elected government and the ongoing repression of the Burmese people. These sanctions are not directed at the people of Burma.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has announced further measures targeting the Myanmar regime today (Thursday 25 March), sanctioning military-owned conglomerate Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd for its involvement in serious human rights violations against the Rohingya and its association with senior military figures.

Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) is a military conglomerate owned by parts of the armed forces, and current and former military officers. Designating the entity under the Global Human Rights sanctions regime will also prohibit funds being made available to any subsidiaries “owned or controlled” by MEHL.

The designation is in response to evidence that MEHL contributed funds to support the country’s armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, in their campaign on ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya in 2017, having reasonable cause to suspect that the funds would or may contribute to the serious human rights violations committed, and that MEHL is associated with the Commander in Chief and Deputy Commander in Chief.

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