At least 11 Burmese officials face coup sanctions, with a UN official proposing to reduce the military’s access to arms and money.
European Union foreign ministers are expected to approve sanctions against 11 Burmese officials for the military takeover on Monday, European diplomats said, as a UN official on Saturday urged the international community to cut the access of the putschists to money and weapons.
The move comes after the 27-nation bloc agreed last month to target Myanmar’s military and economic interests in response to its seizure of power.
A diplomat said the 11 people who will be placed on an EU asset freeze and visa ban blacklist by ministers meeting in Brussels are military and police.
The first round of measures is not expected to target military-related businesses, but diplomats have said some will likely be under sanction in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, called on world leaders to immediately respond to the continuing violence by the security forces “by cutting them off access to money and arms ”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also reiterated his condemnation of the situation in Myanmar, denouncing the continued brutal violence by the military.
A “firm and unified international response” was urgent, he said, quoted by his spokesman.
The military government spokesperson was unavailable for comment but previously said security forces only used force when necessary.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the dismissal of civilian military leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, sparking a mass uprising that security forces have sought to quell with a campaign of violence and fear.
At least 234 people were confirmed killed and 2,000 detained on Friday, according to a local watch group.
The crackdown has also forced many to flee the country, with India reporting that more than 1,000 people from Myanmar have passed through neighboring Indian state of Mizoram since the end of February.
With that number likely to rise further, authorities in the small northeastern state are pushing federal authorities to help build designated refugee camps near the border, Mizoram MP K. Vanlalvena said.
“Otherwise, all the refugees will be scattered all over India,” he said.
Inside Myanmar, protests took place across the country, with reports of crowds gathering for a candlelight vigil Friday night in Mandalay, as well as in Kachin and Shan states.
A candlelight vigil in Kachin State
During their nightly protest against the military regime on March 19, residents of Nanati in Kachin state held a candlelight vigil for those killed by junta troops.
(Photo: Kyaw Thet Oo)#WhatIsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/YsqTZcoYMC
– The Irrawaddy (Eng) (@IrrawaddyNews) March 19, 2021
The army justified its takeover by citing electoral fraud in the elections last November which were won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in a landslide.
But he was condemned by the international community for the coup and the bloody crackdown that followed, with the US and UK hitting the military government with sanctions.
The U.S. House of Representatives also approved legislation condemning the coup, and lawmakers denounced the increasingly harsh tactics used to quell protests that have swept Myanmar since the overthrow of the elected government.
Myanmar’s military has interests in parts of the country’s economy, from mining and banking to oil and tourism.
The EU has already imposed an arms embargo on Myanmar and blacklisted 14 senior military and border officials for the persecution of the predominantly Muslim Rohingya minority.