April 27, 2009

The Burma Campaign UK today welcomed the renewal of EU sanctions against the military dictatorship in Burma.  EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today extended the EU Common Position on Burma for a further year.

The Burmese dictatorship had called on the EU to lift sanctions. Some European governments sided with the regime and supported relaxing sanctions, despite the fact that the regime has ignored all requests by the EU regarding human rights and political reform.

“The renewal of European Union sanctions is very welcome,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “To relax sanctions now, when the regime is showing no improvement on human rights, and increasing restrictions on delivery of aid, would be irresponsible. We would, however, like to see the EU use sanctions in a smarter way, in combination with diplomatic pressure.”

The Burma Campaign UK is calling for carefully targeted sanctions that hit the generals and their business cronies, but for these to be linked with political initiatives, such as visits to Burma by UN envoys, so that sanctions can be used to apply political as well as economic pressure.

“The British government opposed any relaxation of sanctions without positive steps by Burma’s generals first, and deserve praise for continuing to stand with the people of Burma, giving them political support, as well as being the largest aid donor,” said Mark Farmaner.

Although the EU has not introduced the kind of strong targeted sanctions that Burma’s democracy movement has been calling for, Burma’s generals regularly complain about those sanctions that do exist, demonstrating that they are having an impact. The first sanctions that had any significant impact stopping revenue going to Burma’s generals and their cronies were only introduced in March 2008. These sanctions included an import ban on gems and timber. Friends of the Earth has exposed loopholes on those sanctions.

For more information contact Burma Campaign UK Director, Mark Farmaner on 0207 324 4710.

Click here to download the EU Burma sanctions statement. (.pdf)

Click here to find out more about Targeted sanctions against the Burmese regime.

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