Ethnic alliance criticizes EU for lifting its sanctions

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) warned the European Union that it was too early to lift sanctions on Burma. The UNFC hit out at the EU after foreign ministers from 27 European countries met in Luxembourg on April 22 and decided to lift all sanctions on Burma, except its embargo on arms.

The UNFC vice-chairman Padoh Saw David Tharckapaw said now was not the time to lift the sanctions as human rights violations in Burma are still happening and that as long as there was no obvious changes in Burma during the peace talks between ethnic groups and the government.

Speaking to Karen News, Padoh Saw David Tharckapaw said.

“The [Myanmar] government hasn’t yet met the needs of ethnic people. Opportunities for peace are very low. Fighting continues in Shan State. Lifting the sanctions now only gives encouragement to the government to continue violating human rights.”

The UNFC released a statement on April 21 that criticized the EU for lifting sanctions, claimed the government has not put in place a genuine peace and that there is still fighting in Kachin and Shan States.

The UNFC statement that the by EU lifting its sanctions, weakened the ethnic democracy movement, damaged the peace process and ignored the ongoing human rights violations.

The UNFC’s, Padoh Saw David Tharckapaw, said.

“When the EU has sanctions against Burma, it hurts the army community, the government and the businessmen. When the EU lifts its sanctions, it benefits only the army, the government and businessmen.”

The New York based Human Rights Watch in a media statement pointed out that the human rights situation in Burma has not improved and it is to early for the EU to lift its sanctions on Burma.

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