DVB Multimedia Group

EU to penalise Burma officials over Rohingya violations

Rohingya refugees are reflected in rain water along an embankment next to paddy fields after fleeing from Burma into Palang Khali, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, on 2 November 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

The European Union will impose sanctions on seven Burmese security officials on Monday, according to EU diplomats and officials, over what it says are systemic human rights violations against the country’s Rohingya Muslims.

The seven will face asset freezes and be banned from travelling to the European Union, after the bloc extended an arms embargo and prohibited any training of or cooperation with Burma’s armed forces.

The sanctions also mark a shift in diplomacy by the EU, which suspended its restrictive measures on the Southeast Asian country in 2012 to support its partial shift to democratic governance in recent years.

But the plight of nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State, which the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing by the military, has soured relations. Naypyidaw rejects all accusations of wrongdoing.

Last December, the United States levied sanctions in response to the crackdown on the Rohingya minority in Arakan.

Canada followed suit in February, when Reuters also reported on events in the village of Inn Din, where 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys were hacked to death by Arakanese Buddhist villagers or shot by security force members.

The killings were part of the larger army crackdown on the Rohingya. Two Reuters journalists were jailed while reporting the story and remain in prison in Rangoon, where they face up to 14 years behind bars for violating Burma’s Official Secrets Act.