Burma Campaign UK today called on European Union member states to urgently impose a new round of targeted economic sanctions on the Burmese military, and to agree to impose regular new rounds of sanctions from now on.
It is now five months since the European Union brought in any new sanctions against the Burmese military. In that time:
Another 418 people have been killed by the military, bringing the total to 1,291.
Another 4,221 people have been arrested by the military, bringing the total to 10,452. 7,548 political prisoners are in jail today, many facing torture.
The number of people who have fled their homes since the coup because of threats and attacks by the military has grown to a quarter of a million people.
There is much more that the European Union can do to cut the flow of money to the Burmese military, but while hundreds die and thousands are arrested, the European Union is dithering.
The European Union has sanctioned some military companies and state-owned companies involved in timber and gems, but there is much more that they can do.
The recent failure to keep imposing new rounds of sanctions is all the more disappointing because it had at first appeared that the EU had learnt from past mistakes in imposing sanctions on Burma, when one off rounds of sanctions were introduced only every few years after an atrocity was committed.
Following the military coup on February 1st, there were three rounds of sanctions brought in by the EU. This was a much more systematic and effective way of imposing sanctions. It ensured that the military understood that the European Union would be relentless in identifying and sanctioning sources of revenue to the military.
This is more effective both in reducing revenue, and the psychological impact on the military and the nepotistic business crony cartel which provides vital economic support to the military.
Sanctions which should be considered by the EU include:
Sanction gas revenue to help cut one of the main sources of international money flowing to the military.
Sanctions on the Office of the Quartermaster General and other military bodies responsible for the purchase and manufacturing of arms.
Sanctions on state-owned entities and banks which now provide revenue to the military.
Targeted sanctions on revenue from extractive industries.
Sanctions on Burmese companies and individuals financing the military or which are supplying the military with arms and equipment or facilitating the purchase of arms and other equipment.
“The military has not stopped the killings and arrests and the European Union must not stop doing everything it can to stop money reaching the military,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The EU needs to keep identifying and sanctioning sources of revenue for the military, relentlessly tightening sanctions month after month.”