The UK has imposed sanctions aimed at depriving Myanmar’s ruling generals of funds from the country’s gem trade.

The state-owned Myanmar Gems Enterprise was hit with an asset freeze by the UK, while the US and Canada also took action against the military regime.

Myanmar is one of the world’s largest producers of rubies and jade and the Foreign Office said the trade was a key source of funding for the junta.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, said: “The military junta in Myanmar continues to crush democracy and attack its own people with brutal ferocity.

“We are working with our allies to impose sanctions that hit the junta’s access to finance, and deliver a return to democracy.”

US secretary of state Antony Blinken sanctioned the military regime’s State Administrative Council and 16 individuals linked to the junta.

He said the military regime has refused to cooperate in efforts to implement a peace plan and restore Myanmar on the path to democracy but has instead continued “its brutal repression and violence against its people”.

Canada imposed sanctions against 16 individuals and 10 entities, with foreign minister Marc Garneau saying he “stands with the people of Myanmar as they continue to fight to restore democracy and freedom in their country”.