Conflicts & War

Myanmar military dictators receive arms supplies despite sanctions, says UN

Geneva, Sep 16 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military rulers continue to receive weapons and engage in international business despite sanctions against them for repression of the people, a new report by the United Nations said on Friday.

The UN’s human rights body asked the international community to speed up its efforts to financially isolate the Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is officially called.

The report by the UN’s human rights agency urged the international community to step up efforts to support the people of Myanmar and ensure the military’s financial isolation.

“Appropriate sanctions should be implemented in consultation with civil society and the democratic movement…to calibrate their impact,” the report said.

The UN agency said that “ineffective sanctions enforcement” had helped the military dictators with revenues.

The report said cited Myanmar teak valuing nearly 19 million euros exported to the European Union – notably Italy – since February 2021 when the military toppled a democratically elected government followed by a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, activists, and journalists.

The teak was supplied by Myanmar Timber Enterprise, the only entity legally permitted to trade in timber extraction and sales.

The firm was sanctioned in June 2021.

“Sixty-five shipments of Myanmar timber entered the United States since it sanctioned MTE, with lower amounts reportedly entering Canada, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom,” the UN report noted.

“Effective sanctions should particularly target the military’s foreign currency access, whilst minimising impacts on the Myanmar population,” the report suggested.

The military coup has plunged Myanmar into a deep political, social, and economic crisis and triggered a spiral of violence with the formation of new civilian militias that have exacerbated decades of guerrilla warfare.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 2,276 people have died in the military crackdown since the coup.

More than 15,500 people have been arbitrarily arrested and 12,400 remain in jail.

Government employees voluntarily carried out a Civil Disobedience Movement that impacted all sectors of the economy.

The report noted with “concern” that the impact of the sanctions had been blunted by the inaction of neighboring countries and those of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), especially regional financial hub Singapore.

“Australia, Japan, and (South) Korea have condemned the coup, but not imposed new financial sanctions despite recently doing so with respect to other states,” the report said.

The report found that several countries allowed arms and arms-related transfers and assistance to Myanmar even as some states appeared to have halted supplies since February 2021.

“Several states have continued to supply, or facilitate supply of, lethal weaponry to the Myanmar military following the coup,” the UN agency said.

It said Russia exported fighter jets, likely transferred armored vehicles, and announced new arms deals.

“On Armed Forces Day in 2021, when at least 130 people were killed across Myanmar, the Deputy Minister of Defence of Russia attended the military’s celebration and discussed military technology cooperation,” the report noted,

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