The US State Department announced that it has barred several senior military officials in Myanmar from entering the United States, over a lack of accountability for atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims since a 2017 crackdown.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the US “is the first government to publicly take action with respect to the most senior leadership of the Burmese military” and that there was "credible information of these commanders' involvement in gross violations of human rights".
In particular Mr Pompeo highlighted the release of soldiers convicted of carrying out extra judicial killings of Rohingya, just months after they were convicted, calling it an “egregious example of the continued and severe lack of accountability for the military and its senior leadership”.
"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," he added.
Myanmar responded by stating that “it doesn’t matter that they banned travel to the United States for the generals”. Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun however added that the ban “does insult the Myanmar military’s dignity”.
Meanwhile Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said the ban would have little effect and more needed to be done to hold those guilty of atrocities to account, such as an ad-hoc tribunal or sanctions.
“Essentially this is a holiday ban,” he said. “Limiting Min Aung Hlaing’s holiday options is not a proportionate response to genocide.”