Civil Society Groups Welcome Stricter EU Sanctions on Businesses and Individuals Associated with Military Junta

Civil society organizations welcomed the European Union’s (EU) new sanctions on individuals and companies linked to Burma’s military junta, including Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), a huge source of revenue for the military regime.

Justice for Myanmar, a campaign alliance collecting, investigating evidence and exposing the business network of the Burma military, issued a statement welcoming the European Union’s decision to impose economic sanctions on 22 individuals associating with the junta and four companies, including the International Group of Entrepreneurs (IGE), Mining Enterprise 1 (ME1), Htoo Group, and Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the military-appointed, State Administrative Council (SAC) largest revenue stream.

Justice for Myanmar spokesperson, Yadanar Maung, said; “The decision to impose sanctions on MOGE comes after more than a year of campaigning to stop the oil and gas industry revenue flowing into the military council – it is a historical achievement for grassroots activists outside of Myanmar and around the world.”

Justice for Myanmar said despite the strong message of the EU sanctions that the Burmese junta will not be able to continue doing business as before, it is still not enough. For the sanctions to work effectively, other countries such as America and Japan need to impose sanctions on MOGE, and other military-controlled businesses.

International activists point out the EU sanctions are welcomed as Burma’s gas industry generates billions of dollars a year for the military.

In addition to MOGE and Mining Enterprise 1 (ME1), EU sanctions list includes IGE companies owned by military family members or military associated cronies – Moe Aung, Nay Aung, and Pyi Aung, sons of U Aung Thaung, and Htoo Group owned by U Tay Za.

The EU targeted sanctions include 22 individuals, associated with the military junta and include SAC appointed ministers; Aung Naing Oo, Charlie Than, Daw Thet Thet Khaing, and U Maung Maung Ohn; Shwe Kyi, a member of the SAC, Union Election Commission members; U Aung Moe Myint, Than Tun, Aung Lwin Oo, Aung Saw Win, Than Win, Saw Ba Hlaing, Soe Soe Oo, Than Oo, Ba Yan Shaung, Myint Oo, Khin Maung Oo, Nu Mya Zan, Myint Thein, and Ba Maung; and military officers; Tay Za Kyaw, Commander of Special Operation No.1, Nay Lin Aung, a Division Commander and Aung Zaw Aye, Commander of Special Operation No.2.

Naw Wah Khu Shee, a spokesperson for the Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN), that monitors the peace process in Burma, said the EU’s recent actions were needed.

Naw Wah Khu Shee explained to Karen News; “We have been calling for sanctions against the oil and gas industry for a long time. I am now pleased to hear this. These businesses are the main source of revenue for the military council, which continues to kill and commit acts of violence against civilians.”

Naw Wah Khu Shee stressed that European Union (EU) member countries need to comply with the EU’s current sanctions as these actions will be only effective when all European Union countries follow the current EU’s sanctions.

The new EU sanctions came after several well-known companies who had invested in Burma, including Total Energies, Chevron, Petronas, Mitsubishi Corporations, and Woodside, announced their withdrawal from their respective ventures in the country.

While it is welcomed that these companies, that are now following international standards on human rights, and now are stopping their businesses operating in Burma, civil society organizations said they are concerned these companies will be replaced by others who do not respect international standards or human rights.

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