Fresh sanctions have been slapped on Myanmar’s military only days after the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was handed a two-year jail sentence.
The UK has accused the South-east Asian country’s armed forces of continued suppression of the civilian population and of serious human rights violations.
The move comes after Ms Suu Kyi, who was pushed out of power in February in a de facto coup by the army, was convicted on charges widely dismissed as politically motivated.
The 76-year-old is being held by the military at an unknown location, facing further charges that could see her jailed for 100 years if found guilty.
The sanctions made today target some of the most callous violations and abuses of human rightsLord Ahmad, Foreign Office
Meanwhile, there have been reports that soldiers allegedly rounded up and massacred 11 civilians, said to be in retaliation for a lightly armed militia attack on government forces.
The British sanctions, being applied alongside sanctions by the US and Canada, include imposing travel bans and asset freezes on those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses and those responsible for “undermining fundamental rights and liberties”.
They will particularly apply to groups involved in securing weapons and other equipment from abroad for the Myanmar military, as well as those who support the security force’s “repression” of civilians, officials said.
The UK has also sanctioned Furqan Bangalzai, a former commander in the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, who helped to orchestrate the 2017 bombing of the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Pakistan, in which more than 70 Sufi worshippers were killed.
Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad said: “The sanctions made today target some of the most callous violations and abuses of human rights, including cases where civilians suffer unrelenting state repression and worshippers have been targeted and killed for their religious beliefs.
“The UK will always be a fierce champion of human rights and we will work with our fellow democracies and partners, as a network of liberty, to hold to account those who deny these fundamental freedoms.”