EU approves sanctions on China, Myanmar over rights abuses

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Mar 22, 2021, 05:00 PM(IST)

File Photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The highly symbolic move -- reported by EU diplomats and expected to be formally unveiled in the EU's official journal later Monday -- is the first time Brussels has hit Beijing over human rights abuses since it imposed an arms embargo in 1989

Foreign ministers of the European Union on Monday approved sanctions over abuses in China, Myanmar and Russia. The EU is expanding measures targetting global human rights breaches. The European Union is set to place four Chinese officials and one state-run entity on a blacklist. This is being done over Beijing's crackdown on Uighur Muslims.

The highly symbolic move -- reported by EU diplomats and expected to be formally unveiled in the EU's official journal later Monday -- is the first time Brussels has hit Beijing over human rights abuses since it imposed an arms embargo in 1989 after Tiananmen Square

"This is a very important step which shows how committed we are," Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok said.

China's foreign ministry has warned that Beijing will "react with a firm hand" against any punishment over its actions in the western Xinjiang region. 

The measures are part of a package of human rights sanctions targeting a dozen people that also includes individuals in Russia, North Korea, Eritrea, South Sudan and Libya, diplomats said.

The mechanism -- designed to make it easier for the bloc to target rights abusers -- was launched this month with sanctions on four Russian officials over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Fresh sanctions on Russia will target individuals behind abuses in Chechnya. The region is ruled with an iron-fist by Kremlin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, triggering a mass uprising that security forces have sought to crush with a campaign of violence and fear. 

Diplomats have said businesses tied to the military will likely be placed under sanctions in the coming weeks.

(With AFP inputs)

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