The US has sanctioned a Myanmar state-owned gem company – Myanma Gems Enterprise in response to the junta’s ongoing violent repression of anti-coup demonstrators.
The blacklisting of Myanma Gems Enterprise is intended to deprive the military regime of a key funding stream, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The company is a subdivision of Myanmar’s Mines Ministry and is responsible for virtually all aspects of gem mining in the country, including permitting, licensing, regulation enforcement and marketing of jade and gemstone, according to the agency.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said sanctions are being implemented “as military leaders participate in an ongoing gems emporium in Nay Pyi Taw, under the auspices of Myanma Gems Enterprise.”
“By imposing targeted sanctions on this entity, we are sending a clear signal to the military that the United States will keep increasing pressure on the regime’s revenue streams until it ceases its violence, releases all those unjustly detained, lifts martial law and the nationwide state of emergency, removes telecommunications restrictions, and restores Burma to the path of democracy,” he said in a separate statement.
The military seized power on Feb. 1, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and ending the country’s brief experiment with democratic rule after her NLD party made sweeping gains in national elections.
In response to the coup, civilian groups launched a civil disobedience campaign that has included mass demonstrations and sit-ins, which the military has violently sought to repress.
In all, 614 people have been killed by the junta’s forces, according to a Myanmar-based monitor. That includes eight people who were killed on Thursday, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
It said an additional 2,857 people have been arrested by the military.