April 8 (UPI) — The United States on Thursday imposed additional punitive sanctions targeting the Myanmar junta over its usurpation of their government and its bloody crackdown on people who protest its coup.
The Treasury said in a statement that it was sanctioning state-owned Myanma Gems Enterprise, that is responsible for all gemstone activities in the country.
Gemstones are a key economic resource for the military regime,” it said.
“Today’s actions highlights Treasury’s commitment to denying the Burmese military sources of funding, including form key state-owned enterprises throughout Burma,” Andrea Gacki, manager of the Office of the Foreign Assets Control, stated, referring to Myanmar with its older name.
The sanctions, which freeze all property and assets under Myanma Gems Enterprise title when barring U.S. citizens from doing business with itwere imposed under Executive Order 14014 for it being a political tool of the Myanmar authorities.
The Treasury said the enterprise, operated under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, is accountable for managing the mining and promotion of both jade and other gems.
“By imposing targeted sanctions on this entity, we are sending a clear signal to the military that the United States will keep increasing pressure on the regime’s revenue streams until it ceases its violence, releases all those unjustly detained, lifts martial law and the nationwide state of emergency, removes telecommunications restrictions and restores Burma to the path of democracy,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The United States has imposed targeted punitive sanctions against Myanmar army components, companies and generals in response to their ousting of democratically elected officials to usurp control of the nation on Feb. 1.
Since the coup, protests that have raged nationwide in opposition have been confronted with escalating military violence, leading to countless deaths and arrests, including more than 100 people on March 27.
According to Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at 614 individuals have been killed by the country, including 16 in the past two days. Over 2,850 people also have been arrested by security forces since the coup, it stated.
The European Union, Canada, Britain and other nations have also imposed sanctions against Myanmar.
Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged the EU to impose additional sanctions against military officials and military-owned firms after EU High Representative Joseph Borrell said further sanctions would be coming.
The rights organization asked for its sanctions to target the country’s oil and gas industry because it’s the maximum source or revenues for the nation.
In the correspondence into the EU, the company called for international governments to design coordinated measures to obstruct payments to the junta and state-owned enterprises from foreign-financed gas and oil jobs.
“EU Condemnation and efforts to advance accountability and justice for grave, widespread and systematic abuses by the military junta are welcome and important, yet words and partial steps are not enough,” it said. “Additional sanctions are urgently needed.”
Late Thursday, the ambassadors to Myanmar in Australia, Canada, the EU, Czech Republic, Denmark, the United States and 12 other nations issued a joint announcement in support of the protesters and in condemnation of people who were murdered, stating they’re”humbled by their courage and dignity.”
“We are united to accompany the grief of their families and friends. We stand together to support the hopes and aspirations of all those who believe in a free, just, peaceful and democratic Myanmar, where the rights and the potential of all people can be fully respected and developed,” the states said in a joint announcement. “Violence has to stop, all political detainees must be released and democracy should be restored.”