February 11, 2021

US issues new executive order and sanctions in response to Burma coup

The US has launched a new sanctions regime in response to the military coup d’état carried out in Burma on February 1, 2021.  A new Executive Order issued pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the National Emergencies Act, section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, and section 301 of Title 3 of the United States Code blocks all US property of persons determined by the Secretary of the US Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of the US Department of State, to:

  • operate in the Burmese defense sector;
  • bear responsibility for actions that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Burma, threaten the country’s peace, security and stability, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly;
  • be complicit in the arbitrary detention or torture or serious abuse of the human rights of any person in Burma, or;
  • be a leader or official of the Burmese military or security forces, or post-February 1st government.

The Executive Order bars entry into the United States, and prohibits the provision or receipt of funds, goods or services from persons whose property interests are blocked pursuant to the order.

Simultaneous with the issuance of the new Executive Order, the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury designated ten current and former military officials, including the commander-in-chief of the Burmese military forces, Min Aung Hlaing, who was designated in December 2019 pursuant to Executive Order 13818 for his involvement in serious human rights abuses, Hlaing’s deputy, three current and one retired lieutenant general in the Burmese army, and four top-ranked military leaders who were appointed to ministerial-level positions in the military government.  In addition, OFAC designated three Burmese entities that are owned or controlled by or have acted on behalf of the Burmese military or security forces.

Following these sanctions, US property of the designated persons is blocked, and transactions by US persons with such property are generally prohibited.

US Dept of the Treasury press release | Executive Order | US Dept of State press statement