The Federal government announced sanctions last week against four Burmese individuals and two Burmese military units for allegedly conducting serious human rights abuses, including ethnic cleansing, across several states in Burma.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) listed Burmese nationals Aung Kyaw Zaw, Khin Maung Soe, Khin Hlaing, and Thura San Lwin, and Burmese military units 33rd Light Infantry Division (LID) and the 99th LID under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act of 2016 for alleged atrocities committed in the Burmese states of Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan.
Per the OFAC, the parties listed carried out ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual assault, extrajudicial killings, and other serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities. The atrocities allegedly began in the fall of 2016, ramping up almost a year later in response to deadly attacks by militants. The alleged wrongdoings reached a point by November of last year that the Trump administration listed the situation in Rokhine as meeting the criteria for ethnic cleansing.
The four individuals listed are all leaders of military units alleged to have carried out significant human rights abuses. Units under their command are said to have led to the death of thousands of ethnic minorities, as well as committing other acts, including beatings, sexual assaults, and forced disappearances.
The two units cited in the sanctions are collectively believed to have engaged in the killings of thousands of ethnic minorities as well. In one alleged incident, the 99th LID executed several men of a particular village, herded women and girls into nearby houses, sexually assaulted them, then burned the house down in which they had been locked.
A listing by OFAC often leads to significant difficulties for the listed parties in the United States. Once listed, rights in property within the jurisdiction of the United States are not recognized by the government, and United States citizens are prohibited from knowingly engaging in business with such parties.