The Plight of the Rohingya: U.S. Congress to impose sanctions on Myanmar Military

The plight of the Rohingya has received a much deserved spotlight as the U.S. Congress is voting to impose sanctions on Myanmar, Burmese, Military. U.S. Congress have proposed targeted sanctions on Myanmar military officials over the maltreatment of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

The sanctions do not aim to target the de facto head of the Burmese civilian led government Aung San Suu Kyi and a Nobel peace laureate. Although Aung San Suu Kyi  has to share power with the military, she has come under significant international pressure to stop the violence and improve the situation of the Rohingya.

On 06 December 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a House resolution condemning what it called the “ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.” The use of the term ethic cleansing has been applied by the United Nations. The resolution was passed (423-3) by a two-thirds majority calling “for an end to the attacks,” against the Muslim minority in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

This could signal the first U.S. Congressional measure to re-impose sanctions on the small Asian country. Possible sanctions target the Burmese military and security forces which many countries believe to be responsible for the disproportional violence committed against the Rohingya.

The resolution is the first step in Congressional action that could eventually lead to a sanctions bill (Burma Act 2017) that targets the Burmese military, its financial cronies and would bar the U.S. from supplying most assistance to the country’s military – well at least until the perpetrators of atrocities against the Rohingya are held accountable.

The House bill has a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. Further, if U.S. sanctions would be reimposed, restrictions could also include a ban on jade and rubies from Myanmar and instructs the U.S. Treasury Department not to support international financial assistance programs that partner with enterprises owned by the Burmese military.

 To be continued… 

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