One year after the Myanmar military’s illegal coup attempt, Justice For Myanmar has compared targeted sanctions imposed by some democracies. Targeted sanctions are a crucial mechanism to stop the flow of funds to the terrorist junta and to take action against those responsible for human rights violations and corruption.
We looked at the sanctions track record of Australia, Canada, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK and the USA since February 1, 2021.
Comparison of sanctions designations by country: Download Excel File (16 kb)
English Press Release: Download PDF (150 kb)
Appallingly, since the Myanmar military’s attempted coup, Australia, India, Japan and South Korea have not imposed any targeted sanctions.
Companies from those countries, and in some cases, governments, are implicated in ongoing business with the military junta.
For instance, the Japanese state-backed Y Complex project involves payments to the Myanmar Army’s Office of the Quartermaster General, although payments have been suspended since February 1, 2021.
The Shwe Gas project, which involves a collaboration between South Korea’s state-owned company, KOGAS, POSCO International and the junta-controlled Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, continues to bankroll the junta.
Business with the junta and its conglomerates enables its widening campaign of terror.
Through their inaction – at best – and complicity, at worst, Australia, India, Japan and South Korea are failing to uphold their human rights responsibilities and failing the people of Myanmar. We call on them to change direction and support democracy and human rights in Myanmar.
Australia passed a Magnitsky-style sanctions bill on December 2, 2021, but no sanctions have yet been imposed under the act.
While New Zealand acted swiftly to formally suspend high-level contact with the Myanmar military junta, it too has failed to follow this up with targeted sanctions, with the exception of a travel ban imposed on five senior junta officials. This is insufficient. New Zealand does not have a Magnitsky law.
Some sanctions have been imposed by the US, UK, Canada and the EU on senior junta individuals and some of the junta’s business interests. Yet, not enough has been done to designate individuals and entities linked to the Myanmar military junta’s serious human rights violations and corruption.
For instance, despite evidence that oil and gas bankrolls the military junta, enabling its continued atrocity crimes, sanctions have not yet been imposed on Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). MOGE is a state-owned enterprise under Myanmar military control that generates the most significant amount of revenue for the terrorist junta.
Key military-controlled businesses, their directors and associates have also yet to be sanctioned, despite their well-documented links to the Myanmar military’s international crimes.
A notable example is Telecom International Myanmar, the company that owns Mytel. Mytel provides a lucrative source of revenue for the terrorist junta and supports the military’s communications capabilities.
Apart from the UK’s sanctions designation against Htoo Group, and the US Commerce Department’s designaton of King Royal Technologies, no sanctions have been imposed on individuals and businesses that supply arms and dual-use goods to the Myanmar military, despite growing evidence of the military’s network of private arms brokers.
Targeted sanctions are an important tactic for the international community to deploy in support of the Myanmar people’s overwhelming rejection of the attempted coup and the struggle to build a federal democracy. Justice For Myanmar continues to call for wide-ranging international action, including targeted sanctions and a global arms embargo.
Australia’s Autonomous Sanctions (Designated and Declared Persons – Myanmar) list (Oct 5, 2018)
Canada Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations consolidated (Dec 9, 2021)
EU Restrictive Measures against Myanmar sanctions map (accessed Jan 27, 2022)
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel ban on Myanmar military leaders (Mar 23, 2021)
UK sanctions list (accessed Jan 27, 2022)
US Commerce Department’s Export Administration Regulations designations (July 6, 2021)
US Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control sanctions list search (accessed Jan 27, 2022)