Delegation of the European Union to South Sudan

Petition response - Burma: EU must sanction military companies, not just military leaders

Brussels, 15/04/2021 - 16:55, UNIQUE ID: 210415_16
Petition responses

Dear Petitioner,

We would like to thank for your letter of 18 March, expressing concern about the situation in Myanmar. The military coup staged on 1 February 2021 is a clear attempt by the military to overturn the will of the Myanmar people and their strong attachment to democracy, as expressed in the November 2020 general election.

The EU has reacted quickly and set out a firm line. On 2 February 2021, the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers condemned in the strongest terms the military coup and called for de-escalation of the crisis through an immediate end to the state of emergency, the restoration of the legitimate civilian government and the opening of the newly elected parliament. The Ministers also underlined the EU's readiness to adopt restrictive measures in response to the military coup.

In view of the continuing grave situation in Myanmar, EU adopted sanctions against eleven persons responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar as well as for serious human rights violations committed in the aftermaths of the coup. Most persons targeted by the measures belong to the highest ranks of the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw), including the Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, and the Deputy-Commander-in-Chief Soe Win.

In line with the political decision by the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers to target the economic interests of the military, the EU also extended the legal framework, including the possibility to sanction companies that support the military in its activities undermining democracy or committing serious human rights violations in Myanmar/Burma.

Those decisions on sanctions, together with the withholding of payments related to financial assistance going directly to the government budget, the freezing of all assistance to government bodies that may be seen as legitimising the Myanmar military junta, and intense, ongoing diplomatic outreach, represent the EU’s robust response to the illegitimate over-throwing of the democratically-elected government and the brutal repression by the junta against peaceful protesters.

Unfortunately, the situation continues to deteriorate and the brutal crackdown continues against citizens and peaceful protesters.

The EU will continue to review all of its policy options, including additional restrictive measures against economic entities owned or controlled by the military. At the same time, the EU aims to ensure thati ts measures do not have an adverse effect on the general population.

I would like to reassure you that the EU remains a steadfast supporter of Myanmar’s civilian and democratic transition, its peace process and national reconciliation, and its inclusive socio-economic development. We will continue our work aimed at stopping repression and restoring the democracy and the rule of law in the country.

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