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New Sanctions Targeting Myanmar Military’s Regime a Step in Right Direction, Strong Measures Needed

February 1st, 2024  •  Author:   Myanmar Campaign Network  •  3 minute read
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1 February 2024

New Sanctions Targeting Myanmar Military’s Regime a Step in Right Direction, Strong Measures Needed

Myanmar Campaign Network (MCN) welcomes today’s announcement by the Australian Government of new targeted sanctions against two banks and three jet fuel suppliers, marking a crucial step in limiting the junta’s capacity for violence and oppression.

Australia can follow the lead of the US, UK, EU, and Canada and introduce stronger measures to limit the economic foundations and access to weapons by the junta, such as sanctioning state-owned enterprises linked to the natural resources sector. MCN further encourages vigilance as the junta seeks new channels to circumvent international sanctions.

The impact of the junta’s campaign of terror on civilians is immense, with 2.6 million people internally displaced, and nearly 20,000 people in detention. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has been able to verify the deaths of 4,474 persons, however the true death toll is likely many times higher.

The junta has been reportedly seeking new financial channels to circumvent US sanctions on Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB). However MCN notes that Australian sanctions on these two banks that facilitate international trade for Myanmar’s lucrative state-owned enterprises, is a significant move.

Amnesty International has revealed new data showing Myanmar’s military using new tactics to evade US, UK and EU sanctions on aviation fuel. Airstrikes increased by 300% in 2023 compared to 2021, with the junta now relying on indiscriminate use of airpower as it continues to lose strategic positions on the ground to pro-democracy and anti-junta forces.

Justice For Myanmar’s recent “Mines Against Humanity” report highlights the significant role 10 Australian companies continue to play in supporting the junta with their activities in Myanmar’s mining sector and Australia still imports products in high-risk business sectors directly linked to the junta such as timber and wood products, pearls and gems, and arms and ammunition.

Clancy Moore, CEO, Transparency International Australia said, “Three years on from the coup, this is a strong message from the Australian Government. However, Australia’s lack of sanctions on the state-owned enterprises Mining Enterprise 1 (ME1) and Mining Enterprise 2 (ME2) that oversee the mining sector and collect revenue for the junta means the door is wide open for the ten Australian-linked mining companies to continue to do business with the corrupt and murderous military regime.”

Tasneem Roc, Campaign Manager, Myanmar Campaign Network said, “Targeting banks that support Myanmar’s state-owned enterprises and entities that supply jet fuel has been a crucial step. But Australia must stay vigilant as the junta seeks new channels to bypass these measures. To truly weaken the junta’s grip and halt its cycle of violence, we must impose sanctions on entire networks of individuals and companies within Myanmar’s natural resource sectors and the aviation fuel supply chain.”

Media Contact:

Tasneem Roc

Myanmar Campaign Network

[email protected]

+61 2 8203 6044

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