FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
The U.S. Department of Treasury sanctioned the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) on Oct. 31. Canada and the U.K. imposed coordinated sanctions against military arms dealers and financiers.
“Since the military coup in 2021, Burma’s military regime has repeatedly harmed civilians in air strikes, suppressed pro-democracy movements, destroyed homes and infrastructure, and displaced millions of people, among other appalling acts. The sanctions announced today target companies and individuals, including government officials and military cronies, who perpetuate or facilitate the brutal violence in Burma,” said Brian E. Nelon, the under secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
“Together with our international partners, we are closing the net on Myanmar arms dealers and the Myanmar military’s financiers with new sanctions that will aim to limit their access to key resources and revenue to prevent further such attacks,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the U.K. Minister for the Indo-Pacific. Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly called on the international community to impose similar measures to stop atrocities in a separate statement.
The sanctions were welcomed by members of Burma’s pro-democracy movement. “It is positive to see increased coordination between Canada, the U.K. and U.S. targeting the junta, its cronies and arms brokers. As the junta continues to wage a campaign of terror against the people of Myanmar, it is crucial that governments ratchet up sanctions to block the junta’s access to funds, arms and jet fuel,” Yadanar Maung, the spokesperson for the whistleblower group Justice For Myanmar, told DVB.
Human rights and pro-democracy activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi expressed support for the measures on social media, saying they are a crucial step in holding the military accountable for its crimes.
The National Unity Government (NUG) – the democratic opposition to military rule – also took to social media. “We appreciate the U.S. and coordinated countries for imposing sanctions on MOGE. Heartfelt thanks to our international partners, organizations, civil society, and individuals for their tireless efforts in cutting funds to the Myanmar Military,” stated the NUG.
MOGE is a state-owned company that is a key generator of foreign currency for the military. It is involved in the extraction and production of gas and oil in Burma through joint ventures with foreign companies. Naypyidaw annually earns hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars from it.
MOGE was sanctioned by the E.U. on Feb. 21, 2022. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that these recent sanctions aim to deprive the military’s ability to purchase weapons used to carry out human rights abuses in Burma. The U.S. sanctions go into effect on Dec. 15.
Americans will be prohibited from providing financial services to MOGE, including loans, accounts, insurance, and investments. The sanctions will not fully block MOGE as Washington declined to add it to the Specially Designated Nationals list. Entities added to the list are blocked from the U.S. banking system and freezes its American assets, Reuters reported.
Three entities and five individuals close to the military were also sanctioned under the Treasury Department directive. Those slapped with sanctions help supply equipment to the military. Officials involved in the regime’s prison system were also targeted. The U.K. sanctioned five individuals and one entity. Canada sanctioned 39 individuals and 22 entities.
Western countries have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Burma since the 2021 military coup that ended a decade-long transition to democracy. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, along with several other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) government, have been jailed since Feb. 1, 2021. The U.S. sanctioned the military regime’s Ministry of Defense and two state-owned banks last June.