Ottawa (AFP) – Canada on Monday announced sanctions in coordination with the European Union against seven senior Myanmar officials over the Rohingya crisis, accusing them of human rights violations including killings and sexual violence.
“Today, the European Union and Canada have announced sanctions against some of the key military leaders who were involved in atrocities and human rights violations in Rakhine State, including sexual and gender-based violence,” Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.
“Canada and the international community cannot be silent. This is ethnic cleansing. These are crimes against humanity,” she said.
The Myanmar officials — five army generals, a border guard commander and a police commander — face travel bans and asset freezes for their role in the crisis.
Myanmar’s military has forced some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims out of Rakhine and across the border to Bangladesh since August 2017, in a brutal crackdown which UN officials say amounts to ethnic cleansing of the minority.
The Buddhist-majority country has branded the Rohingya as illegal immigrants.
After a period of thawing relations with Myanmar after the country’s military junta ceded power in 2011, the Rohingya crisis has seen the EU and Canada take a harder line — with blacklisting the officials the toughest step taken so far by Brussels and Ottawa.