The European Union imposed a third round of sanctions on Myanmar officials and state-owned companies on Monday (June 21) because the military coup on February 1 overthrew the elected leader Aung Suu Kyi and plunged the country into chaos.
According to a militant group, more than 860 people have been killed by security forces and more than 4,500 have been in prison since then. The military government says this number is much lower.
Sanctions, diplomacy, and increasing violence have not had a significant impact on the military government. The military government believes that the coup d’etat that ends 10 years of tentative democratic reforms will bring about “strictly disciplined democracy.”
The European Union imposed asset freezes and travel bans on eight Myanmar officials, including the interior minister in charge of the police force, and imposed sanctions on three state-owned or military-controlled companies.
The fourth entity, the Veterans Organization, was also hit by these measures.
The European Union said in a statement: “By targeting the gem and timber industries, these measures are aimed at limiting the military government’s ability to profit from Myanmar’s natural resources while avoiding undue harm to the people of Myanmar.” statement.
In total, EU sanctions now apply to 43 individuals and 6 entities. Britain added three Myanmar entities to its sanctions list on Monday.
British and U.S. sanctions
The United States and the United Kingdom have also targeted key officials and companies in the country, but so far, the military government has dismissed Western pressure.
London also announced on Monday that it would impose sanctions on the same company and the National Administrative Council, the ruling body of the military government.
The Foreign Federation and Development Office stated that measures to curb trade in these two high-value commodities would deprive the generals of “millions of dollars in income.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (Dominic Raab) said: “The military continues to subvert democracy and brutally kill civilians.”
“We will continue to hold the military government accountable and sanction the perpetrators until democracy is restored.”
The campaign group welcomed the latest EU and UK sanctions. Anna Roberts, executive director of the British Myanmar Movement, said this is a way to keep the economy under pressure.
“The EU must now also find creative ways to prevent oil and gas revenue from flowing to the military. It is essential to continue to systematically identify and reduce the source of revenue for the military,” she added.
The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is responsible for investigating transnational wildlife crime, illegal logging and deforestation, and it also appreciates this move.
“There are no legal sources of timber, including precious teak imported from Myanmar to the EU,” said Faith Doherty, head of EIA’s forest movement.
“Through these targeted sanctions, we will be able to stop the flow of hard currency to those who profit individually.”
Moscow supports the military government
At the same time, at a meeting in Moscow, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Burmese military leader Min Anglai pledged to further strengthen security and other ties between the two countries.
Rights activists accused Moscow of legitimizing the Burmese military government by continuing bilateral visits and arms deals. Russia stated that it has a long-term relationship with Myanmar.