OTTAWA: Canada announced targeted sanctions on Friday (Saturday in Manila) against a Myanmar general who led an army crackdown that forced almost 700,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees to flee to Bangladesh.
The action follows United States sanctions levelled against Major-General Maung Maung Soe in December.
In a statement, Ottawa said the general played a “significant role… in human rights violations against the Rohingya in Myanmar and in the violence and persecution that has forced more than 688,000 Rohingya to flee their country.”
“Canada will not stand by silently as crimes against humanity are committed against the Rohingya,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
“Those responsible for these atrocities must be held to account,” she added.
The sanctions include a freeze on assets the senior military official may have in Canada as well as a ban on dealings with him.
Since the crackdown in the Buddhist majority country six months ago the Rohingya refugees have been sheltering in makeshift camps in Bangladesh.
Myanmar regards the Rohingya as immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship, even though they have been there for generations.
The United Nations has accused Myanmar of carrying out an ethnic cleansing campaign by forcing the Rohingya into exile.
Myanmar’s army has said it did not target civilians and has only admitted to killing “terrorists.”