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Targeted sanctions on Myanmar would dash hopes of investment surge

In response to the persistent persecution of Rohingya the US lawmakers have put forward a bill which includes targeted sanctions with the aim of allowing humanitarian access and supporting the return of Rohingya to Myanmar

The US is considering reinstating targeted sanctions on key figures in Myanmar. Investors could be hard pressed to find unsanctioned partners.

Pressure is mounting for the US to take action against the government in Myanmar for the atrocities committed against the Muslim Rohingya population.

Following an attack in late August by the Arakan Rohinghya Salvation Army (ARSA) on police posts and a military base, government forces as well as vigilantes have raided Rohingya villages. More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled the Rakhine state in Myanmar since August, many of whom are children.

The response by the international community has been criticized as uninspiring – much has been said and little has been done.

In September, the UN declared the crackdown “ethnic cleansing” and the Trump administration called for strong and swift action to end the violence against the Rohingya.

More recently, the US withdrew military assistance to Myanmar and halted its consideration of travel waivers for senior military leaders. While this helps set the stage for more concerted action, many find it to be insufficient for holding the government accountable.

U.S. Targeted Sanctions

In response to the persistent persecution of Rohingya the US lawmakers have put forward a bill which includes targeted sanctions with the aim of allowing humanitarian access and supporting the return of Rohingya to Myanmar.

More specifically, they are looking to place responsible individuals from Myanmar on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, which would freeze their assets in the US, prevent their use of US financial institutions, and generally prevent them from doing business with US firms and persons.

Such sanctions are designed to target individuals responsible within the regime rather than the country. More traditional, comprehensive sanctions damage the broader economy and can increase poverty, stall the economy, and in some cases turn the populace against the group imposing sanctions rather than against those sanctioned. This is especially true in Myanmar where there is strong anti-Muslim sentiment. Broader sanctions impacting the…

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