EU foreign ministers imposed sanctions Monday on individuals responsible for serious human rights violations in China and Russia, as well as officials responsible for the military coup in Myanmar. Two weeks after EU sanctions were adopted in connection to the Navalny case, the Council decided to impose restrictive measures on eleven individuals and four entities responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses in China, North Korea, Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea and Russia. Together with the listing of four Russian individuals earlier this month, these 15 designations are part of a broader package of listings under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the sanctions targetted “very serious human rights violations and abuses, independently of the place where they are being committed. All European Union restrictive measures comply with international law and are subject to highest standards of the rule of law.” The violations targeted include the large-scale arbitrary detentions of, in particular, Uyghurs in Xinjiang in China, repression in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Libya, torture and repression against LGBTI persons and political opponents in Chechnya in Russia, and torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings in South Sudan and Eritrea.
Under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime established in 2020, the listed individuals and entities are subject to an asset freeze in the EU. In addition, listed individuals are subject to a travel ban to the EU. Moreover, persons and entities in the EU are prohibited from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed. The Council also decided to sanction eleven individuals responsible for the military coup staged in Myanmar/Burma on 1 February 2021, and the subsequent military and police repression against peaceful demonstrators.
Ten of the eleven persons targeted belong to the highest ranks of the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw), including the Tatmadaw’s Commander-in-Chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and Deputy-Commander-in-Chief, Soe Win. The other is the new Chairperson of the Union Election Commission for his role in cancelling the results of the 2020 elections in Myanmar. The restrictive measures introduced include a travel ban and an asset freeze. The travel ban impedes those listed from entering or transiting through EU territory, while the asset freeze covers the funds or economic resources in the EU of the listed persons. In addition, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities.