UN urges sanctions on Myanmar army businesses, says foreign partners could be complicit

A man holds a portrait of military commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing during a rally to denounce the US sanctions imposed on senior Myanmar military officials, in Yangon, Myanmar, on Aug 3, 2019.
A man holds a portrait of military commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing during a rally to denounce the US sanctions imposed on senior Myanmar military officials, in Yangon, Myanmar, on Aug 3, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - United Nations investigators urged world leaders on Monday (Aug 5) to impose targeted financial sanctions on companies linked to the military in Myanmar, and said foreign firms doing business with them could be complicit in international crimes.

A panel of human rights experts identified scores of companies tied to the army, which controls vast swathes of Myanmar's economy through holding firms and their subsidiaries, and is accused by the UN of executing a campaign with"genocidal intent" against the Rohingya minority.

More than 730,000 Rohingya, members of a persecuted Muslim minority, fled Myanmar's Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh amid a military-led crackdown in August 2017 that the UN and Western countries have said included mass killings and gang-rapes.

The UN investigatory panel condemned the violence in a report last year that called for the economic isolation of the military. Investigators said the purpose of the new report was to help countries cut financial ties with all army-linked companies.

"For the first time, this report comes out with a clear picture of the involvement of specific European and Asian companies, and makes a point that in fact there is this relationship and it's a violation of UN treaties and UN norms," panel chairman Marzuki Darusman said in an interview in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Sunday.