The Karen Organization of America have sent an open letter calling for the United States to sanction General Min Aung Hlaing, Burma’s Commander-in-Chief for abuses and crimes committed against ethnic people.
The KOA sent the letter endorsed by its 22 member organizations to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senators on April 24 calling for sanctions against Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. The KOA letter supports US senators who wrote an open letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (check spelling), urging the State Department to invoke the Magnitsky Act and implement sanctions on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
Saw Greh Moo, Secretary 1 of the KOA spoke to Karen News.
“We cannot wait for the world to act on Gen. Min Aung Hlaing for his complicity in crime against humanity and ethnic minorities in Burma, but we believe that the United States has the power and ability to unilaterally sanction him to discourage future bad behavior among Burma’s generals.”
The KOA letter pointed out that “Karen people in Burma have suffered systematic abuses and atrocities at the hands of the Burmese military since the 1950s. Today, the cycle of military violence and abuse continues unabated, despite the transition to a quasi-civilian government. Presiding over the carnage and political impasse is Min Aung Hlaing.”
The KOA said it supports calls to impose US sanctions on General Min Aung Hlaing for his control over an army guilty of crimes against humanity and where his “soldiers routinely murder and torture civilians; commit rape and sexual violence; use civilians as human shields, minesweepers, and forced labor; and destroy the villages, food sources, and lands of civilian populations.”
The KOA letter said it is now time to impose sanctions on General Min Aung Hlaing as he is “ultimately responsible for Burmese military abuses, not only against the Rohingya, but against all ethnic peoples in Burma.”
The letter added that the US “Congress has recognized genocide against Rohingya in a resolution passed on December 2018 and the lack of action encourages Burmese military impunity and endless cycles of abuse.”
In addition, the KOA claimed General Min Aung Haling “is the main obstacle to peace and political reform in Burma, as he controls not only all the armed forces, but the police, border security, and most of the civil service and appoints 25 percent of members of parliament from among the military’s ranks where he can consistently blocked all attempts by Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.”
The KOA letter said “General Min Aung Hlaing’s hardline stance has led the peace process into a gridlock when he has dismissed ethnic peoples’ aspirations for self-determination as ‘unrealistic’, and demanded that ethnic groups surrender their arms before further political negotiations could take place.”
The KOA is an umbrella organization with 22 member’s organizations that represents Karen people in the United States and promotes community development, youth education, human rights, and democracy.