Global Witness welcomes today’s announcements of additional, coordinated sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime by the US, UK, and Canadian governments. 

Most significant among these is the US decision to sanction the State Administrative Council (SAC), the body the military created in support of its unlawful attempt to overthrow the elected civilian government.  

“The US sanctions against the SAC are a crucial step that will specifically target all financial transactions, banking assets, and other sources of revenue under the SAC’s control and that the military desperately needs to fund its repression,” said Paul Donowitz, Myanmar Campaign Leader at Global Witness.

Sanctions announced by the UK and Canada include restrictions on the Myanma Gems Enterprise (MGE), the state-owned entity that acts as both the main regulator for the jade and gemstone industry as well as a commercial partner in mining projects. Canada also applied sanctions on two additional Myanmar state-owned enterprises, the Myanmar Pearl Enterprise (MPE) and Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE). The necessity of these sanctions was underscored when just last month, MGE oversaw an gemstone emporium in the capital Naypyidaw that saw over $20 million worth of sales, millions of which went to the military regime. 

“As Global Witness has documented for years, Myanmar’s jade industry has been almost entirely taken over by the military,” said Donowitz. “Today’s sanctions by the UK and Canada on the state-owned jade and gemstone company is a welcome move towards cutting off an important source of revenues to the Tatmadaw.”

In addition to US sanctions on the SAC itself, the US and Canada also placed sanctions on members of the SAC, members of the military government, children of military leaders and some businesses linked to the military.

“The latest round of sanctions are part of a coordinated effort by countries to pressure Myanmar’s military junta to reverse course by denying them the legitimacy and foreign currency resources needed to sustain their illegal power grab and violently suppress the will of the people,” added Donowitz. 

One of the last remaining financial targets to pressure the military to reverse course is the billion-dollar natural gas revenues earned by the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and generated by offshore gas projects. 

“Global Witness is calling on countries to now focus on applying sanctions to ensure that the country’s critical oil and gas revenues do not go to the military,” concluded Donowitz.

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