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December 16th, 2021  •  Author:   Burma Campaign UK  •  3 minute read
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Media Release from European Karen Network

European Karen Network today called on the European Union to impose a new round of targeted economic sanctions on the Burmese military, and agree to impose regular new rounds of sanctions from now on.

As usual, it is ethnic people who are facing some of the worst human rights violations by the Burmese military since the coup. The majority of the 300,000 people displaced since the coup are from ethnic states. In Karen State, more than 70,000 internally displaced people have been hiding in the jungle since April, following bombing attacks which killed villagers and destroyed homes and schools. Since then jets and drones continue to fly over parts of Karen State every day, preventing people from returning home.

This week the Burmese military has attacked Lay Kay Kaw town, in Dooplaya District (Myawaddy Township), Karen State. Arrests of democracy activists have been followed by indiscriminate shelling using heavy artillery, which is a war crime. More than 1,000 civilians are now fleeing from the area, and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

People who have already been displaced have been unable to grow this year’s crops, and are dependent on aid, but the Burmese military continues to restrict humanitarian access and international donors are not providing enough funding for food, shelter, medical care and education for children. Despite the fact that there are millions of people who can be reached with aid and Covid vaccines using cross-border mechanisms, this has only been happening in a very limited way.

“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 EU is failing to use the economic leverage it has to promote human rights and democracy in Burma. Our Karen people and other people in Burma are doing everything we can to resist military rule, but the same cannot be said for the European Union,” said Nant Helen Buhtoo, Co-Chair of the European Karen Network.

We call on the EU to bring in a new round of economic sanctions including:

  • Gas revenue
  • Revenue from extractive industries including copper and rare earths
  • The Office of the Quartermaster General and other military bodies responsible for the purchase and manufacturing of arms
  • Banks in Myanmar used by the military to earn and transfer revenue, such as the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank
  • 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 European Union should also impose sanctions to prevent European companies supplying aviation fuel to Burma, and impose sanctions on Burmese companies supplying fuel to the military.

“Reducing the air capacity of the Burmese military would be one of the single most effective short term things the European Union can do to help prevent further airstrikes against our people, and help reduce human rights violations and address the humanitarian situation on the ground,” said Nan Kyi Aye, Chair of the European Karen Network.

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