Myanmar has detained former UK Ambassador Vicky Bowman and her husband in the city of Yagon, British authorities said on Thursday.
“We are concerned by the arrest of a British woman in Myanmar. We are in contact with the local authorities and are providing consular assistance,” Sky News quoted a Foreign Office spokesperson as saying.
Bowman is the director at the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB). Prior to her role at MCRB, she had served as the UK ambassador to Myanmar from 2002-06.
Her husband Htein Lin is a Burmese artist and former political prisoner.
She has been accused of breaking visa rules, and her husband with helping her stay in Myanmar, according to the BBC.
Shortly before the revelation of Bowman and her husband’s arrest on Thursday, the British government announced a new series of sanctions against Myanmar’s ruling military junta on the fifth anniversary of the Rohingya crisis.
The sanctions will target businesses linked to the junta and the military’s ability to access arms and resources.
The UK will also take part in Gambia’s case against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice to support international justice efforts for the persecuted Muslim community.
In 2017, the Burmese military launched a devastating attack on the Rohingya Muslim communities residing in the country’s Rakhine State. According to a UN Fact Finding Mission report, 10,000 Rohingya Muslims were killed and 740,000 displaced into neighboring Bangladesh.