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UK sanctions Myanmar aviation fuel businesses marking 2 years since coup

January 31st, 2023  •  Author:   Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office , The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP  •  4 minute read
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31 January 2023

The UK announced sanctions to increase pressure on the Myanmar military junta, coinciding with the 2-year anniversary of the coup that ousted an elected government.

  • UK announces further round of sanctions to ratchet up pressure on Myanmar military junta
  • announced ahead of 2-year anniversary of 1 February coup
  • sanctions target enablers of air force bombing campaign and repression of the civilian population

Companies supplying the Myanmar Air Force with the aviation fuel to carry out its relentless bombing campaign against innocent people have been targeted by the UK in the latest round of sanctions, announced to coincide with the second anniversary of the brutal coup that ousted Myanmar’s elected government.

Two companies and 2 individuals, all associated with what is known as the Asia Sun group, and integral to the aviation fuel industry in Myanmar, have been sanctioned. The group supplies fuel to the Myanmar Air Force enabling its barbaric air raiding campaign in an attempt to maintain power, killing thousands and displacing hundreds of thousands of Myanmar’s people in the process.

The first of February 2023 marks 2 years since the Myanmar military overthrew the democratically-elected government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and installed a military regime. Since then, they have used violence and atrocities to maintain power and supress any opposition voices.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

“Our sanctions are meticulously targeted to deliver maximum impact, reducing the military’s access to finance, fuel, arms and equipment.”

“The junta must be held to account for their brutal crackdown on opposition voices, terrorising air raids and brazen human rights violations.”

“The UK has led a strong, coordinated international response to support the people of Myanmar, their democratic demands and right to fundamental freedoms.”

The UK has worked with partners including Canada, the United States and the European Union since the coup to impose coordinated and targeted sanctions against the military regime, its business interests and those who facilitate and profit from its brutal campaign.

Since the coup, the UK has now sanctioned 18 individuals and 30 entities, targeting those responsible for the coup, the subsequent violence, and those facilitating it. These sanctions raise the cost for those aligned with and supporting the regime’s campaign of terror. The UK will continue to use economic statecraft to restrict the military’s access to finance and arms and increase the pressure on them to engage with calls for a return to democracy.

As part of its commitment to a free and open Indo Pacific, the UK has led the international community’s work to support a peaceful resolution in Myanmar and a return to democracy; and pushing for progress towards accountability and justice. It has also played a key role in calling on countries around the world to end the sale and transfer of arms and equipment which facilitate the military’s atrocities.

At the United Nations, the UK successfully passed a Security Council Resolution on the crisis, the first of its kind, to apply further pressure on the military junta to end its violence. It also strongly supports ASEAN’s Five Point Consensus, which demands the military immediately ceases its violence and engages in constructive dialogue with all parties.

Background

Those sanctioned today are:

  • Asia Sun Trading Company Limited and Cargo Link Company Limited, both part of what is known as the Asia Sun group which dominates the aviation fuel sector in Myanmar and are involved in the transfer of aviation fuel to the Myanmar Air Force
  • Zaw Min Tun: Director and sole shareholder of Asia Sun Trading
  • Win Kyaw Kyaw Aung: former Director and shareholder of Asia Sun Trading

Myanmar is the region’s most desperate humanitarian crisis. Following the coup, over 17.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including over 1.5 million displaced, of which more than half a million are children.

Humanitarian access is extremely challenging. The UK has led international efforts to channel resources to non-governmental organisations based in Myanmar which are on the frontline, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

Asset freeze

An asset freeze prevents any UK citizen, or any business in the UK, from dealing with any funds or economic resources which are owned, held or controlled by the designated person. UK financial sanctions apply to all persons within the territory and territorial sea of the UK and to all UK persons, wherever they are in the world. It also prevents funds or economic resources being provided to or for the benefit of the designated person.

Travel ban

A travel ban means that the designated person must be refused leave to enter or to remain in the United Kingdom, providing the individual is an excluded person under section 8B of the Immigration Act 1971.

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