Washington – Today, the Biden administration launched a new sanctions regime in response to the Burmese military’s coup against the democratically elected civilian government of Burma. In coordination with the issuance of a new Executive Order (E.O.), the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated, pursuant to that E.O., 10 individuals and three entities connected to the military apparatus responsible for the coup. The United States will continue to work with partners throughout the region and the world to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law in Burma, to press for the immediate release of political prisoners, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and to hold accountable those responsible for attempting to reverse Burma’s progress toward democracy. These sanctions specifically target those who played a leading role in the overthrow of Burma’s democratically elected government. The sanctions are not directed at the people of Burma.
“As the President has said, the February 1 coup was a direct assault on Burma’s transition to democracy and the rule of law,” said Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “The Treasury Department stands with the people of Burma — and we are doing what we must to help them in their effort to secure freedom and democracy.”
“We are also prepared to take additional action should Burma’s military not change course. If there is more violence against peaceful protestors, the Burmese military will find that today’s sanctions are just the first.”
SITUATION IN BURMA
On February 1, the Burmese military overthrew the country’s democratically elected government in a coup d’état (coup), detaining civilian leaders, imposing a nationwide internet shutdown and blocking access to social media sites, and taking control of the reins of government. This takeover removed State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint from power. February 1 would have marked the swearing in of Burma’s newly elected Parliament, formalizing the results of the November 8, 2020 general election, which was credible and largely representative of the will of the people of Burma. Coup leaders have declared a one-year state of emergency, returning Burma to full military rule.
Burma’s military should immediately restore power to the democratically elected leadership, end the state of emergency, release all those unjustly detained, and respect human rights and the rule of law, including by ensuring peaceful protestors are not met with violence. Burma’s election results must be respected, and Parliament should be convened at the earliest opportunity.
PERPETRATORS OF THE COUP
As a part of today’s action, Treasury is designating 10 current and former military officials responsible for the February 1, 2021 coup or associated with the Burmese military regime. Six of these individuals are part of the National Defense and Security Council and were directly involved in the coup. These individuals are designated pursuant to the new E.O. for being foreign persons who are or were leaders or officials of the military or security forces of Burma:
- Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese military forces Min Aung Hlaing. Treasury previously designated Hlaing on December 10, 2019 pursuant to E.O. 13818 for his role as a leader or official of the Burmese military forces, an entity that engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse under his command;
- Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese military forces Soe Win. Treasury previously designated Win on December 10, 2019 pursuant to E.O. 13818 for being a leader or official of the Burmese military forces, an entity that engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, serious human rights abuse during his tenure;
- First Vice President and retired Lieutenant General Myint Swe;
- Lieutenant General Sein Win;
- Lieutenant General Soe Htut; and
- Lieutenant General Ye Aung.
Following the coup, on February 2, 2021, the Burmese military announced that the following four military officials would be members of the State Administration Council, among others. These individuals are designated pursuant to the new E.O. for being foreign persons who are or were leaders or officials of the military or security forces of Burma:
- General Mya Tun Oo was appointed Minister of Defense;
- Admiral Tin Aung San was appointed as Minister for Transport and Communications;
- Lieutenant General Ye Win Oo was appointed Joint Secretary of the SAC; and
- Lieutenant General Aung Lin Dwe was appointed Secretary of the SAC.
In addition to the individuals identified above, the following three Burmese entities, which are wholly owned subsidiaries of a large conglomerate in Burma, are being designated pursuant to the new E.O. for being foreign persons that are owned or controlled by, or that have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the military or security forces of Burma:
- Myanmar Ruby Enterprise;
- Myanmar Imperial Jade Co., LTD.; and
- Cancri (Gems and Jewellery) Co., LTD.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.