The United States imposed new sanctions on members of the Myanmar military Friday for their role in the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. The announcement marks the toughest U.S. action so far in response to the country's ongoing human rights abuses, which have left thousands dead and forced many more into refugee camps in Bangladesh.
The Trump administration's sanctions do not reach the military's highest levels, nor did officials label the abuses a genocide, Reuters reports. Instead, Sigal Mandelker, the Department of the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the U.S. will hold military leaders accountable for "horrific behavior," including ethnic cleansing, massacres, sexual assault, extrajudicial killings, and other human rights abuses.
In 2017, Myanmar's security forces led a massacre against the Rohingya minority, forcing more than 700,000 people into neighboring Bangladesh, where they live in unsanitary, overcrowded camps, according to Al Jazeera. A Bangladeshi official told Al Jazeerathat the country does not intend to assimilate Rohingya, but many refugees say they would rather die in the camps than return to Myanmar. In the meantime, they live in limbo.
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While Facebook must improve its policies in curtailing the spread of hate speech against Muslims in Myanmar, those steps won't address the fundamental drivers of persecution and violence in the region.