Burma Campaign UK today welcomed an announcement by the British government that they are imposing sanctions on Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE). MGE manages the gemstones industry in Burma, which will be a significant source of revenue for the military now that it has seized control of government ministries.
MGE is a state-owned enterprise under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. MGE was sanctioned by the USA on 8th April 2021.
The UK sanctions follow previous sanctions on two military-owned conglomerates, Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC).
Since the military coup on 1st February 2021 around 800 people have been killed, more than 5,000 arrested and more than 60,000 displaced from their homes by the Burmese military. It is essential that the British government uses all tools at its disposal, economic, legal, diplomatic and building an arms embargo coalition, in order to maximise pressure on the Burmese military.
“Today’s new sanctions are another positive step by the British government towards cutting revenue going to the military,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The government now needs to moves swiftly to ban imports of gems from Burma, and expand sanctions to the timber industry as well.”
Burma Campaign UK is also calling on the European Union to sanction Burma’s timber and gems industries, now that the military is the main beneficiary of revenue from these industries.