The US has imposed extensive human rights-related sanctions on dozens of people and entities tied to China, Myanmar, North Korea and Bangladesh.
Following the US move on Friday, Canada and the UK joined in, imposing sanctions related to human rights abuses in Myanmar, while Washington also imposed the first new sanctions on North Korea under President Joe Biden’s administration.
“Our actions today, particularly those in partnership with the United Kingdom and Canada, send a message that democracies around the world will act against those who abuse the power of the state to inflict suffering and repression,” US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement marking World Human Rights Day.
China’s embassy in Washington denounced the US move as “serious interference in China’s internal affairs” and a “severe violation of basic norms governing international relations.”
The North Korean mission at the United Nations and the Washington embassies of Myanmar and Bangladesh did not immediately respond.
A Reuters report says the measures are the latest in a raft of sanctions timed to coincide with Mr Biden’s two-day virtual Summit for Democracy, where he announced initiatives to bolster democracy around the world and support for pro-democracy legislation in the US.
Mr Biden said on Friday that commitments made by some of the more than 100 world leaders at the summit would push back against rising autocracy around the world, fight corruption and promote human rights.
Meanwhile, Canada has imposed sanctions against four entities affiliated with the Myanmar military government, while Britain says it is imposing fresh sanctions against the military.
Myanmar was plunged into crisis when the military overthrew leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her government on February 1, triggering daily protests in towns and cities.
The US State Department on Friday also barred 12 people from traveling to the United States, including officials in China, Belarus and Sri Lanka.