Burma Campaign UK has written to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly calling on him to step up implementation of British foreign policy on Burma.
“The British government has good policies towards Burma on cutting revenue, arms and equipment to the Burmese military, but the problem is, they are not implementing them fast enough,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Whether because of lack of political will or lack of capacity, the Foreign Office is moving too slowly and missing opportunities to cut revenue and arms to the Burmese military.”
After initially leading the world in implementing and coordinating sanctions against the Burmese military, it is now seven months since any new sanctions were brought in. During this time the USA has brought in significant sanctions on state-owned banks used to channel money to the Burmese military and warned that sanctions will be imposed on international companies involved in aviation fuel deliveries to the Burmese military.
The EU has also imposed more significant sanctions than the UK, sanctioning Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and Mining Enterprise No2, which provides revenue for the military from rare earths.
At the G20 summit Prime Minister Rishi Sunak failed to raise Indian arms sales to the Burmese military, despite it being British policy to discourage the flow of arms to the Burmese military.
On justice and accountability the British government has announced it will intervene in the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice, a UN court. However, the Burmese military is defying provisional measures ordered by the court to prevent ongoing genocide of the Rohingya. As penholder on Burma at the UN Security Council the British government should be calling a meeting to discuss the orders of a UN court being defied, but has failed to do so.
Resistance to the Burmese military’s attempted coup has meant the military have been unable to consolidate power, and they have instead resorted to unprecedented levels of human rights violations. More than 2 million people have fled attacks by the Burmese military and around 20,000 people have been jailed. Airstrikes and long-range artillery are used daily, indiscriminately and often deliberately targeting civilians.
“It is frustrating that the British government has the right policies but is implementing them so slowly,” said Anna Roberts. “British companies are still involved in the supply chain delivering aviation fuel to Burma and in the gas industry. We can and must do more to cut revenue and supplies to the Burmese military.”