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BURMA: Open Letter from Ethnic Karen to President Biden and President Macron to Sanction Gas Revenue, 67 Organizations from 17 Countries

January 13th, 2022  •  Author:   67 Karen Organizations from 17 Countries  •  5 minute read
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President Joseph R. Biden                                                    President Emmanuel Macron
President of the United States                                               President of the Republic of France
The White House                                                                   Palais de I‘Elysée
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW                                            55 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Washington, D.C. 200500                                                      75008 Paris, France

Re: Ethnic Karen Communities Worldwide Calling to Sanction Gas Revenue to the Burmese military.

January 13, 2022

Dear President Biden and President Macron,

We are writing to you on behalf of ethnic Karen communities worldwide to call on you to sanction gas revenue to the Burmese military.

We are extremely disappointed that almost a year on from the attempted military coup, you are still allowing companies from America and France to pay gas revenue to the Burmese military. The hundreds of millions of dollars provided to the Burmese military by companies from your countries are being used to buy the bombs and bullets being used against our people. They are funding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Since the military coup, more than 300,000 people have been forced to flee their homes because of attacks and threats by the Burmese military. The majority of these people are from ethnic states, including around 85,000 in Karen State.

We welcome the sanctions introduced by the USA and European Union (EU) so far. It is vital that you continue with regular rounds of new sanctions to systematically cut revenue to the military. However, failing to take action on one of the single biggest sources of revenue to the military is neither an effective or credible policy option.

As long as American and French companies continue to fund the military, your countries are complicit in the human rights violations committed by the Burmese military. You are helping to facilitate the purchase of military equipment by providing the funds required to do so.

You impose arms embargoes but at the same time provide the Burmese military with money which they can purchase arms from Russia, China, India and other countries. This makes absolutely no sense.

A wide range of proposals have been put forward by different civil society organisations for ways in which gas revenue can be stopped.  Whatever the challenges, you must find a way to impose sanctions to stop gas revenue reaching the military. The price of your inaction and indecision is being paid for with the lives and suffering of our people.

It is not a credible option to continue to condemn airstrikes, massacres and other human rights violations which your companies have helped to fund.

For decades your countries largely stood by, failing to hold the military to account for its violations of international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity against Karen people. You helped create a sense of impunity which led the military to believe it can keep committing these human rights violations, encouraging more attacks and the military coup.

Please do not let us down again now. What we ask is very little. It will have no significant impact on your own country’s economies. We simply want you to stop funding our oppressor. Stop funding human rights violations. Sanction gas revenue now.

Your sincerely,

  1. International Karen Organisation
  2. European Karen Network
  3. Albany Karen Community, USA
  4. Australia Karen Organisation
  5. Ayeyawaddy Karen Youth, Burma
  6. Calgary Karen Community Association, Canada
  7. California Karen Youth Connection, USA
  8. Denmark Karen Organization
  9. Dooplaya Karen Community Development Group, Burma
  10. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization, Canada
  11. Finland Karen Culture Association
  12. IKO Women Department
  13. Karen American Association of Wisconsin, USA
  14. Karen Association of Huron, SD, USA
  15. Karen Community Association UK
  16. Karen Community in Norway
  17. Karen Community in The Netherlands
  18. Karen Community Korea
  19. Karen Community of Akron, OH, USA
  20. Karen Community of Canada
  21. Karen Community of Czech Republic
  22. Karen Community of Finland
  23. Karen Community of Hamilton, Canada
  24. Karen Community of Iowa, USA
  25. Karen Community of Ireland
  26. Karen Community of Israel
  27. Karen Community of Kansas City (KS & MO), USA
  28. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo, Canada
  29. Karen Community of Leamington, Canada
  30. Karen Community of Lethbridge, Canada
  31. Karen Community of London, Canada
  32. Karen community of Minnesota, USA
  33. Karen Community of North Carolina, USA
  34. Karen Community in Norway
  35. Karen Community of Ottawa, Canada
  36. Karen Community of Regina, Canada
  37. Karen Community of Saskatoon, Canada
  38. Karen community of Syracuse, USA
  39. Karen Community of Thunderbay, Canada
  40. Karen Community of Toronto, Canada
  41. Karen Community of Windsor, Canada
  42. Karen Community of Winnipeg, Canada
  43. Karen Community Society of British Columbia, Canada
  44. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, Burma/Thailand
  45. Karen Finland Culture Association, Finland
  46. Karen Human Rights Group, Burma
  47. Karen Organization of America, USA
  48. Karen Organization of Illinois, USA
  49. Karen Organization of San Diego, USA
  50. Karen Peace Support Network, Burma
  51. Karen Student Network Group, Burma/Thailand
  52. Karen Swedish Community
  53. Karen Teacher Working Group, Burma/Thailand
  54. Karen Thai Group, Thailand
  55. Karen Women’s Organization, Burma
  56. Karen Youth – Rangoon, Burma
  57. Karen Youth Education Pathways, USA
  58. Karen Youth Network, Burma
  59. Karen Youth of Norway
  60. Karen Youth Organization, Burma
  61. Karen Youth UK
  62. KNU Concerned Group, Burma
  63. Korea Karen Organization
  64. Korea Karen Youth Organization
  65. New Zealand Karen Association
  66. Oversea Karen Organization Japan
  67. Utica Karen Community, USA

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