The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on several individuals and companies from China, Myanmar and North Korea because of human rights violations.
The announcement coincided with the virtual Summit for Democracy, which started on December 9. Over 100 countries are participating in the event, where pro-democracy measures are being discussed.
Canada and the United Kingdom have backed the sanctions against Myanmar, Reuters reported.
“Our actions today, particularly those in partnership with the United Kingdom and Canada, send a message that democracies around the world will act against those who abuse the power of the state to inflict suffering and repression,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
The United States has vociferously criticised China for its human rights violations in the Xinjiang province, Tibet and Hong Kong.
Human rights groups have said that at least one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim minorities had been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.
These violations were also the reason for the United States’ diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
On Friday, the United States added Chinese artificial intelligence company SenseTime to a list of “Chinese military-industrial complex companies,” for allegedly developing facial recognition programmes that can determine a person’s ethnicity. The technology focuses on identifying ethnic Uyghurs.
Myanmar’s Directorate of Defense Industries, which makes weapons for the military and the police to use against those who oppose the Army, also featured on the United States’ sanctions list.
Myanmar’s Army took power in the country months after the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy in the national elections in November 2020.
The country’s military refused to accept the government, citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud. It was also announced that the coup was the result of the government’s failure to delay the November 2020 election despite the outbreak of the coronavirus. More than 80 people were killed in the region in April.
The military government administration’s head in Myanmar’s Bago region Myo Swe Win was also mentioned in the United States sanctions list, published on Friday.
The list also includes North Korea’s Central Public Prosecutors Office, which has been accused of indiscrimately detaining foreign residents.