EU sanctions Chinese officials for Uyghur abuses | News from the European Union

The military leader of Myanmar, North Korea and Eritrea have also targeted a series of measures targeting alleged perpetrators of human rights violations around the world.

In a highly symbolic gesture, the European Union imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of abusing the Uyghur minority population as part of measures targeting alleged perpetrators of human rights violations around the world.

The sanctions agreed on Monday mark the EU’s first punitive measures against Beijing since it imposed an arms embargo in 1989 after the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The four individuals will have their assets in the block frozen and will be banned from traveling within EU borders. European citizens and businesses are not allowed to provide them with financial assistance.

The four are senior officials in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where at least one million Uyghurs have been held in internment camps, according to the United Nations.

The targeted people are: Chen Mingguo, director of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau; senior officials Wang Mingshan and Wang Junzheng; and former Xinjiang region chief Zhu Hailun.

The public security bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps has also been targeted by sanctions, the EU said.

In an apparent tit-for-tat move, China said shortly after that it decided to impose sanctions on 10 people in the EU, including German politician Reinhard Butikofer, and four entities that it accused of seriously undermining the sovereignty and interests of the country over Xinjiang.

The country’s foreign ministry issued a statement urging the EU to reverse the course of the bloc’s sanctions and correct its “grave mistake”, warning Brussels not to interfere in its internal affairs.

China initially denied the existence of detention camps for Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim minority, in Xinjiang, but has since described them as centers for vocational training and re-education for those exposed to radical thought.

Critics say that detainees in the facility network have been subjected to arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture and forced sterilization, among human rights violations.

But Beijing insists its “security crackdown” in the region has quelled anti-government violence.

Burmese military leader targeted by coup

The EU also placed Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing on an asset freeze and visa ban blacklist on Monday following the coup and crackdown on protesters in the country, the country said. official journal of the block.

Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing is behind state functions and has been accused of undermining democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar.

The EU said the army chief was “directly responsible” for the authorities’ brutal crackdown following the February 1 seizure.

The 27-country bloc added nine more senior military officers and the head of Myanmar’s electoral commission to the list.

The lists represent the EU’s first punitive measures after the coup.

Natacha Butler of Al Jazeera, reporting from Paris, said the EU’s measures were a “tough response” to Myanmar’s military rulers.

“This is a strong message from the EU that any violation of rights and violation of democracy will be punished,” she added.

New system of sanctions enters into force

In other measures, the bloc has also deployed sanctions on the alleged crackdown in North Korea as well as on “extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Libya, torture and repression against LGBTI people and political opponents in Chechnya. in Russia, and torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary. executions and murders in South Sudan and Eritrea, ”said an official statement.

These measures are part of the new EU sanctions system aimed at punishing human rights violations by targeting people regardless of their nationality or location.

The system is similar to the Magnitsky Law – a law passed by former US President Barack Obama that allows Washington to sanction those it considers human rights violators, freeze their assets and ban them from entering the world. country.

The new human rights regime follows the establishment of two similar European mechanisms – targeting the use of chemical weapons and attacks on computer networks – launched in recent years.

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