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Boris Johnson with Aung San Suu Kyi Feature

Brixton non-profit demands sanctions on companies supporting Myanmar’s military

A Brixton non-profit called on the Foreign Secretary to impose sanctions on companies supporting Myanmar’s military after a coup d’tat sparked international condemnation.

Burma Campaign UK has long criticised British Government inaction against Myanmar’s military, which was accused of genocide in the International Court of Justice in 2019.

Those criticisms were reignited on Monday when Myanmar’s military arrested de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week following unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud.

Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said: “The British Government is a big donor to Burma.

“It is one of the biggest economies in the world, a UN Security Council member and a former colonial power. 

“It has a lot of capacity to act but lacks the sort of minister willing to do anything.

“Dominic Raab is not making any decisions and not actually doing anything.

“While they claim they are mobilizing international support, working with partners, and issuing statements of condemnation, practically they’ve done nothing.”

Burma Campaign UK urged people to email Dominic Raab to ‘immediately impose sanctions’ to stop British companies doing business with the military.

In the House of Commons, Minister Nigel Adams said the UK is ‘urgently’ working with fellow UN Security Council members to drive an international response. 

He added: “In light of the coup, the Foreign Secretary has today announced a review of all such indirect support to the Myanmar government, with a view to suspending it unless there are exceptional humanitarian reasons.”

For Burma Campaign UK, the ‘review’ must reveal if London-based consultancy and insurance firms with ties to Myanmar indirectly support the military.

Protests have sparked within Myanmar and across the world following Monday’s coup.

Farmaner said: “There’s no transparency about who they’re working for, whether they’re working for Burmese military companies.

“Myanmar’s military make everything from toothpaste to indoor skydiving venues. You name it, they’ve got their finger in it.

“All of that has to be insured and there’s no transparency from the insurance market in the UK.”

While it will take an international coalition to stop insurrection in Myanmar, Farmaner reiterated the UK’s responsibility to the cause.

He added: “Condemning is not enough. As a former colonial power, pen holder with the UN Security Council, you have a particular responsibility.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office responded: “The UK condemns the coup in Myanmar.  

“It has already imposed targeted sanctions on 16 individuals responsible for human rights violations in Myanmar.

“As to further sanctions, we will work closely with international partners to consider next steps. The UK will consider all the tools at its disposal.”

Feature image: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Wikipedia Commons CC 2.0 license

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