JFM welcomes new sanctions on the illegal Myanmar junta and businesses on third anniversary of failed coup attempt

February 2nd, 2024  •  Author:   Justice For Myanmar  •  4 minute read
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February 2, 2024

Justice For Myanmar welcomes the latest sanctions on the illegal Myanmar junta and its business associates, three years after the military launched a coup attempt that has failed because of the courageous mass resistance of Myanmar people.

Since the attempted coup, the junta has committed widespread atrocity crimes and grave human rights violations with total impunity, enabled by a network of domestic and international companies.

New sanctions targeted the military’s sources of funds and jet fuel.

Australia’s second round of sanctions since February 1, 2021 designated Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB), state banks illegally seized by the junta. The banks are key nodes in the military cartel’s economic networks, supporting the junta’s campaign of terror.

Australia also targeted three companies that are part of Shoon group (formerly Asia Sun), which is the junta’s main partner in the import, storage and distribution of jet fuel. The Shoon companies designated were Asia Sun Trading Company Limited, Cargo Link Petroleum Company Limited and Asia Sun Group Company Limited.

The US sanctioned Shwe Byain Phyu Group of Companies, a crony conglomerate founded by Thein Win Zaw, who is the group’s chairperson. Following the military’s coup attempt, Shwe Byain Phyu bought Telenor Myanmar, renamed ATOM Myanmar, providing the junta with enhanced surveillance capabilities and access to personal data. Justice For Myanmar exposed the business interests of Shwe Byain Phyu Group in 2022.

The US also sanctioned Thein Win Zaw, his wife Tin Latt Min, and their adult children, Win Paing Kyaw and Theint Win Htet.

In addition, the US sanctioned Myanma Five Star Line Company Limited, a shipping subsidiary of the US-sanctioned military conglomerate, Myanma Economic Holdings Limited.

The UK sanctioned No. 1 Mining Enterprise (ME1) and No. 2 Mining Enterprise (ME2), state-owned enterprises illegally seized by the junta that play a central role in Myanmar’s mining sector. The two mining enterprises illegally channel funds and resources to the junta through production sharing contracts with local and foreign companies. Last year, JFM exposed Greenway Mining Group, a Chinese company that is using British Overseas Territories for its continued business in Myanmar with ME1.

The UK also sanctioned Light Infantry Division 77 and Light Infantry Division 101, which are directly responsible for perpetrating international crimes.

Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “New Australian, UK and US sanctions are necessary to block the junta’s access to funds and jet fuel and come after sustained pressure from civil society. However, far more needs to be done to cut the junta’s access to funds, arms, equipment, technology and jet fuel.

“Sanctions continue to be too slow, lack coordination and are not covering whole networks of companies and individuals, leaving too many openings for the junta and its associates to bypass measures.

“The slow pace of Australian sanctions in particular is clearly inadequate. Australia should start imposing regular rounds of sanctions, including against the mining sector, in which Australians continue to have a significant presence.

“UK, US, EU, Canada and Australia should extend sanctions to the whole network of entities and key individuals in the junta’s natural resources ministry, join the EU in fully sanctioning MOGE, and join Canada in banning the export, sale, supply and shipment of aviation fuel to Myanmar.

“The people of Myanmar have struggled against a terrorist junta for three years and successfully blocked it from taking control of Myanmar. The fight continues and should be supported by the international community through targeted sanctions, a global arms embargo and a UN Security Council referral of the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.

“The Myanmar military cartel must be dismantled.”

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