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100 UK MPs call for stronger action against the military in Burma

April 22nd, 2021  •  Author:   Burma Campaign UK  •  3 minute read
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100 MPs from 9 political parties in the British Parliament have come together to support a Parliamentary Motion condemning the military coup in Burma. They are calling for stronger action by the British government, including building an arms embargo coalition and joining the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice.

Early Day Motion 1545, Political and security situation in Myanmar, condemns the military coup and extends solidarity to fellow MPs in Burma, who have been prevented by the coup from taking up their elected mandates.

The Parliamentary Motion demands the release of all political prisoners, while at the same time calls for action by the British government: to introduce targeted economic sanctions that don’t hurt ordinary people, build a global coalition for an arms embargo, support a referral of Burma to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and join the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Since the EDM was tabled, the British government has introduced targeted sanctions on two military economic conglomerates: Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL). But all of the other calls by the MPs on the government have so far gone unanswered.

“The British Government and wider international community must do more to end the violence in Myanmar and restore democracy. Without intervention, the Myanmar military will continue to act with impunity and commit further human rights violations,” said Rushanara Ali MP, primary sponsor of the EDM and also the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy in Burma. “The Foreign Secretary should work with international partners to impose a global arms embargo, introduce further targeted sanctions, join the genocide case at the International Court of Justice and publicly support a referral to the International Criminal Court.”

While the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted on 16 March: “We welcome the recent announcement from the South Korean government that it too will impose an arms embargo on the Myanmar military. We hope others follow suit – no country should sell arms to the Myanmar military”, it does not appear that British government has taken any practical steps to actually build a global coalition for arms embargoes.

“Statements need to be followed by concrete action. Has the Foreign Secretary written or talked to any of his international counterparts, urging them to introduce arms embargos on Burma?” said Karin Valtersson, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK.

Currently, 3300 political prisoners are detained or have been sentenced, and since the coup more than 700 people have been killed, many of them children. Reports of torture of prisoners are mounting.

Simultaneously, the Burmese military has increased attacks in Karen State in Eastern Burma, forcing more than 20,000 people to flee their homes and become internally displaced.

“The people of Burma are doing everything they can to resist military rule but the international community isn’t, and that includes the British government,” said Karin Valtersson, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “Dominic Raab should listen to MPs and support a referral to the International Criminal Court, join the Rohingya genocide case, and build a global coalition for arms embargoes. He needs to act now. While Dominic Rabb dithers people are dying.”

The EDM is supported by MPs from the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party, Plaid Cymru, Green Party, as well as Independent MPs.

Full text and all signatories can be found here.

View the original press release.