UK sanctions Myanmar generals after military coup

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Affairs Secretary Dominic Raab walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, February 3, 2021. REUTERS/John Sibley

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain imposed sanctions on three Myanmar generals on Thursday, accusing them of serious human rights violations following a military coup in the Asian country.

Myanmar’s military has arrested civilian leaders, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and announced a year-long state of emergency, alleging that an election in November was beset by fraud. The electoral commission dismissed the army’s complaints.

The military junta, which did not immediately comment on Britain’s decision, has promised a new election and defended its Feb. 1 seizure of power, denying it was a coup. It has not given a date for a new election.

“We, alongside our international allies will hold the Myanmar military to account for their violations of human rights and pursue justice for the Myanmar people,” British foreign minister Dominic Raab said.

Washington imposed new sanctions on the Myanmar military last week and has urged other U.N members to follow suit.

Britain said it would enforce immediate asset freezes and travel bans against the three members of the Myanmar military: the minister of defence, Mya Tun Oo, the minister for home affairs, Soe Htut, and deputy minister for home affairs Than Hlaing.

Britain already had sanctions in force against 16 individuals from the Myanmar military.

Britain also said further safeguards were being put in place to prevent British aid indirectly supporting the military-led government and additional measures would prevent British businesses working with Myanmar’s military.

“Myanmar’s military and police have committed serious human rights violations, including violating the right to life, the right to freedom of assembly, the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to freedom of expression,” the government statement said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and William James, editing by William Schomberg, James Davey and Timothy Heritage