Canada has imposed sanctions on seven Myanmar officials it says have been involved in the violent persecution of Rohingya people.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the targeted sanctions today, along with the European Union, under the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations. The federal government says the sanctions target seven people involved in brutal military attacks in Rakhine State in August 2017.

The crisis has forced more than 720,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes. Many of them are now living in squalid conditions in neighbouring Bangladesh.

“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,” reads a statement from Freeland.

“Canada and the international community cannot be silent. This is ethnic cleansing. These are crimes against humanity.”

Frozen assets

The sanctions freeze the individuals’ assets and prohibit any dealings with them in Canada. They also bar Canadians outside the country from dealing in any sanctioned individuals’ property, or providing financial services to them.

Individuals targeted by the latest sanctions are:

  • Aung Kyaw Zaw
  • Maung Maung Soe
  • Than Oo
  • Aung Aung
  • Khin Maung Soe
  • Thura San Lwin
  • Thant Zin Oo

Earlier this month, Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar, former Liberal MP Bob Rae, told a Senate committee about the horrific stories of rape and violence he heard during his visits to the region.

In his final report to the government, Rae called on the government to set aside $600 million over the next four years to help tackle the crisis.

The government offered $300 million over three years for emergency assistance, education and reproductive health programs.