British Government Sanctions Won’t Work Against Top Burma Generals Claims UK Advocacy Group

Burma Campaign UK claim the British Foreign Secretary’s recent announcement sanctioning 49 individuals for human rights violations, including two Burma military generals, are not effective.

The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, announced on July 6, 2020 sanctions against 49 people from Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Burma. Two high-ranking generals from Burma – Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services and Vice-Senior General Soe Win, Commander-in-Chief of Burma Army are named in the list.

The sanctions would mean these individuals would be banned from the UK and have their assets in the UK frozen. If the individuals have money in British banks or have any businesses in UK they would be frozen and they would be denied access to them.

Mr. Mark Farmaner, the director of Burma Campaign UK, told Karen News sanctions may be an effective tool for individuals and businesses in other countries because of business interests, but not for Burma.

“In the case of Burma the list is not effective, they don’t have money in UK banks and no one thinks they will come here for holidays either.”

Mr. Farmaner said the sanctions in reality means that all the British government has done is stop Min Aung Hlaing from taking his holidays in the UK.

“It is certainly not an effective response to what the British government describes as torture, massacre, systematic rape and forced labour by the Burma military.”

Mr. Farmaner said the British government’s sanctions missed its target in Burma, as the Burma Military are still committing human right violations in Rakhine State, Kachin State, Shan State and have broke its ceasefire in Karen state.

“These sanctions don’t have any consequences for their [Burma military generals] human right violations in Burma.” Mr. Farmaner said.

A Burma Campaign UK’s letter calling for more effective sanctions said. “Min Aung Hlaing can’t take holidays in the UK, but British companies can still do business with the military he controls. For example, one British company, Portia Management Services, is managing a military-owned port in Yangon, earning millions of pounds a year for the military. They are helping to fund genocide, and Dominic Raab is refusing to stop them.”

Mr. Farmaner said the current sanctions don’t go far enough. “We need much stronger, comprehensive and a serious approach by the international community to hit the military with stronger sanctions that will hurt their interests.”

Burma Campaign UK, an advocacy group works for human rights, democracy and development in Burma. The group said that they will continue to lobby the British government for effective and hard hitting sanctions and for more funding for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in Burma’s ethnic areas.

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