We welcome the recent announcement by the United States Department of the Treasury imposing sanctions on the genocidal military’s Ministry of Defence and the state-owned banks, namely the Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB). These decisive sanctions marked by the US represent a critical milestone in cutting off the financial lifelines of the genocidal military junta, now calling themselves the State Administration Council (SAC). We call upon international organizations and countries to unite and impose coordinated, targeted, and stronger sanctions not only on MFTB and MICB but also on other financial institutions that provide unwavering support to the genocidal military junta, enabling them to continue their acts of terrorism against the entire population of Myanmar. The same sanctions applied to Russia for its acts over the Ukraine crisis should be applied to the genocidal military junta in Myanmar.
This brutal military junta has committed heinous crimes against their own people, resulting in the deaths of more than 4,000 civilians and the unjust arrest of nearly 24,000 individuals, including several hundred children, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and President U Win Myint, whose health is worsening under the junta’s incommunicado military confinement. They have also destroyed more than 67,000 houses, including hospitals, schools, churches, and monasteries, displacing nearly 2 million people and forcing over 18 million into great need of lifesaving aid, pushing half of the country’s population below the poverty line. Several million children have been left without schools, posing severe long-term ramifications for Myanmar’s youth. These atrocities have occurred in just the past 27 months under the reign of terror of the junta. These crisis-makers are the same genocidal military generals who orchestrated genocidal attacks against the Rohingya population and ethnic minorities in Myanmar. The complicity of bankers associated with MFTB and MICB has gravely exacerbated the military junta’s relentless onslaught against innocent civilians. Therefore, the genocidal military junta and its supporters must be held fully accountable for these egregious crimes committed against their own people.
To sustain its brutal repression, the genocidal military junta has relied on foreign sources, including sanctioned Russian entities, to procure arms, dual-use goods, equipment, and raw materials for weapon manufacturing. State-owned financial institutions, functioning as primary foreign currency exchanges in Myanmar, have shamefully facilitated these illicit transactions for the military junta and other designated entities.
The brutal Tatmadaw military dictatorship holds direct responsibility for commanding and controlling the armed forces, which have subjected the nation to oppressive military rule for decades. The violence has escalated dramatically following the 2021 coup, with the genocidal military junta importing goods and materials worth at least $1 billion, including from Russian entities currently facing sanctions. These imports not only serve as a revenue source for Russia but also provide critical access to military equipment, perpetuating the ongoing brutality inflicted upon the people of Myanmar.
The military junta’s reprehensible actions against its own citizens, coupled with its collaboration with sanctioned entities, demand immediate and robust international action. The Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB), both national banks, have actively supported the military dictators in their malevolent pursuits. These state-owned financial institutions primarily facilitate foreign currency exchange, enabling the conversion of kyat to U.S. dollars and euros, and vice versa. Regrettably, this financial conversion not only generates revenue for state-owned enterprises such as Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) but also grants them unrestricted access to international markets through offshore accounts and transactions with foreign entities. Alarmingly, these financial institutions have also played a disturbing role in enabling the genocidal military junta and other sanctioned military entities to procure arms and materials from foreign sources.
Given these grave developments, we wholeheartedly welcome the sanctions imposed by the United States Department of the Treasury on the Junta’s Ministry of Defence, Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB), and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB). We strongly urge other governments to take similar decisive actions against the genocidal military junta, in alignment with the demonstrated commitment of the US government. We further implore them to inform organizations or individuals collaborating with these sanctioned entities about the applicable sanctions.
This united international effort sends an unequivocal message that the world condemns the brutal actions of the genocidal military junta and its flagrant disregard for human life. It constitutes a pivotal step towards achieving justice, ensuring accountability, and working towards the restoration of democracy and peace in Myanmar.