U.S. Department of State Press Statement
Today, the Department of State is publicly designating the following individuals and their immediate family members for the named individuals’ responsibility for gross human rights violations, including in extrajudicial killings in northern Rakhine State, Burma, during the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya:
- Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing
- Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win
- Brigadier General Than Oo
- Brigadier General Aung Aung
These designations are made under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Act. Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where there is credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. The law also requires me to publicly or privately designate such officials and their family members.
The Department of State is focused on policies that will change behavior and promote accountability. We believe this action is one step toward achieving these goals.
With this announcement, the United States is the first government to publicly take action with respect to the most senior leadership of the Burmese military. We designated these individuals based on credible information of these commanders’ involvement in gross violations of human rights.
We remain concerned that the Burmese government has taken no actions to hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations and abuses, and there are continued reports of the Burmese military committing human rights violations and abuses throughout the country.
One egregious example of the continued and severe lack of accountability for the military and its senior leadership was the recent disclosure that Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing ordered the release of the soldiers convicted of the extrajudicial killings at Inn Din during the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya. The Commander-in-Chief released these criminals after only months in prison, while the journalists who told the world about the killings in Inn Din were jailed for more than 500 days.