'New sanctions on Myanmar junta welcome steps but more measures must'

World must increase sanctions on Myanmar army to cut off cash flow, access to weapons, says Burma Human Rights Network.

'New sanctions on Myanmar junta welcome steps but more measures must'

New sanctions on Myanmar’s military are “welcome steps” but should be “just the start of actions” to end the junta’s rule, according to the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN).

The measures announced by the US, UK and Canada last week target “departments [that] either bolster the military leadership or directly contribute to the junta’s ability to obtain and use weapons against civilians,” the London-based rights group said in a statement.

“Sanctions against these entities by the US, UK and Canada are welcome steps which other nations in the world must also commit to. The rogue military regime in Burma has become brazen since the February coup, and significant efforts must be made around the world to stop them in their tracks,” said Kyaw Win, executive director of the BHRN.

“The most obvious and peaceful means to do this is by cutting off the military’s access to money and weapons. We sincerely hope that these actions against the military are just the start of actions to end their illegitimate reign.”

The BHRN said Myanmar’s junta has “wildly increased its attacks on activists, minorities, and political opponents … as the international community has done little to intervene or prevent the military from obtaining cash and arms.”

The group said the international community must “further increase sanctions on all interests of the military and to make every effort to completely cut them off from cash flow and access to weapons.”

The Myanmar military, locally known as Tatmadaw, has killed over 1,300 people and arrested nearly 11,000 since it seized power on Feb. 1 and jailed the leadership of the National League for Democracy party, which was led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, according to data compiled by local group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint were sentenced to four years in prison by a military court on Dec. 6, a conviction that the UN human rights chief said was the result of a “sham trial … [that is] nothing but politically motivated.”

The UN also said last week it was “appalled by the alarming escalation of grave human rights abuses in Myanmar,” after reports emerged that junta forces killed and burned alive 11 people, including five minors, and rammed vehicles into protesters.

“These latest grave violations demand a firm, unified and resolute international response that redoubles efforts to pursue accountability for the Myanmar military and the restoration of democracy in Myanmar,” said a spokesman for the UN Human Rights Office.

Hüseyin Demir