Britain, Canada impose sanctions on Myanmar military coup leaders

Britain on Thursday imposed sanctions on Myanmar military officers involved in the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the country’s elected government, with Canada also slapping on similar sanctions.

The sanctions come as the number of people detained since the coup has reached nearly 500 and arrest warrants have been issued to several celebrities amid an intensifying campaign by authorities against daily protests on the streets of Myanmar cities.

The British sanctions target Defense Minister Gen. Mya Tun Oo, Home Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Soe Htut and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Lt. Gen. Than Hlaing. The trio has had assets frozen and each is banned from traveling to Britain.

The British government will also prevent its aid from indirectly supporting Myanmar’s military-led government and ensure that aid will only reach “the poorest and most vulnerable” in the Southeast Asian country, it said in a statement.

“Myanmar’s military and police have committed serious human rights violations, including violating the right to life, the right to freedom of assembly, the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to freedom of expression,” the statement said.

Led by Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the military has detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political figures following the coup.

A total of 495 people have been detained since the coup, a Myanmar-based human rights group said Thursday. Of those, 460 remained in detention.

The military has issued arrest warrants on six celebrities, including film directors, for allegedly encouraging protests and strikes among civil servants.

The military has alleged massive voter fraud took place in last November’s general election, in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won another resounding victory.

It says a new election will be held after a state of emergency is lifted, with power transferred to the winning party.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on members of the Myanmar military and related companies.

Tom Andrews, the U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, has called for the U.N. Security Council to consider sanctions and other measures against Myanmar.