Refugees International welcomes the announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department of new targeted sanctions on four Myanmar security officials and two military units directly involved in the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority and serious human rights abuses in Kachin and Shan States. However, if they are to have true meaning and impact, the new sanctions must be part of sustained efforts by the U.S. government at its highest levels.
“Almost a year since the mass expulsion of Rohingya from Myanmar and amid escalating violence and abuses in Kachin and Shan States, the announcement of sanctions sends an important, if belated, message that Myanmar’s military cannot get away with ethnic cleansing and serious human rights abuses,” said Dan Sullivan, Refugees International’s Senior Advocate for Human Rights. “But additional accountability measures, such as escalating sanctions, alongside robust U.S. leadership will be necessary for the conditions for safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable returns to be realized.”
Refugees International carried out an emergency mission to Bangladesh within the first days of the Rohingya exodus in September 2017 and has carried out dozens of interviews with Rohingya refugees over the past year. RI’s most recent missions and reports have detailed the conditions faced by Rohingya forcibly displaced to camps in Bangladesh. See Unnatural Disaster: Aid Restrictions Endangering Rohingya Ahead of Monsoons in Bangladesh from May 2018 and Still at Risk: Restrictions Endanger Rohingya Women and Girls in Bangladesh from July 2018.
Cover photo: AP Photo/Min Kyi Thein