March 15, 2021

British Foreign Office Minister Nigel Adams MP has called on members of the Commonwealth to impose arms embargoes on Burma, following the military coup on 1st February 2021.

Responding to a written question in the British Parliament from Stephen Kinnock MP, who is the Shadow Minister for Asia & Pacific, Nigel Adams stated “The UK is a longstanding supporter of an arms embargo on Myanmar. We are clear that countries including those in the Commonwealth should not sell arms to the Myanmar military.”

42 countries currently have arms embargoes against Burma, meaning 150 don’t. 54 countries are members of the Commonwealth.

While many Commonwealth countries may not be arms exporters, it is important they impose their own embargoes to prevent their country being used as a route to channel weapons, equipment and technology used by the Burmese military. European made equipment and arms are believed to have reached Burma via Asian countries despite the European Union having an arms embargo.

“It is welcome to see Minister Nigel Adams call on Commonwealth countries to impose arms embargoes, but since the coup we have seen a lot of statements and very little practical action by the British government,” said Anna Roberts. “Has Nigel Adams done anything practical like writing to Commonwealth members asking them to impose arms embargoes, or is this one more statement not followed through by action?”

Since the military coup six weeks ago the British government has banned a small number of generals from taking holidays in the UK but failed to take any other practical action such as sanctioning military owned companies, or joining the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice. The British government also refuses to say they support referring Burma to the International Criminal Court.

The question and answer in the British Parliament is available here.

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