April 27, 2020, Washington, D.C.–The human rights and climate justice organization EarthRights International praised a letter sent today by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to the Biden Administration calling for the U.S. to place sanctions on the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). MOGE is a key source of revenue for the military regime that seized power in a violent coup d’état that began in February. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) led the letter and was joined by
Corey Booker (D-N.J.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
The letter calls on Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to implement sanctions in “the face of escalating crimes against humanity” committed by the regime. More than 750 people have been killed in Myanmar by security forces since the coup began. The Myanmar government will earn an estimated $1.54 billion per year from offshore oil and gas revenues in 2020-2021. The U.S. government has placed sanctions on other Myanmar state-owned enterprises but so far has not done so on MOGE. A recent New York Times article reported that U.S. oil company Chevron, which has operations in the country, has lobbied heavily against sanctions.
“Oil and gas revenues are keeping this murderous regime alive, even as it continues to kill its own people,” said Ka Hsaw Wa, Executive Director of EarthRights and an activist from Burma. “That money must be cut off now. We are happy to see bipartisan support for this action and urge the U.S. Treasury and State Department to act immediately to put sanctions on MOGE.”