Urge the European Union to Enact Harsh Actions on the Myanmar Military!

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell

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Urge the European Union to Enact Harsh Actions on the Myanmar Military!

The European Union Foreign Affairs Council is meeting on the 19th of April to discuss further actions on the Myanmar military. While they have released statements stating that they are considering targeted sanctions, it is paramount that they enact targeted sanctions against military-owned companies, specifically companies belonging to the two major conglomerates- Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL). Personal sanctions on military leaders cannot suffice, for symbolically important though they are, their impact on the military as a whole is little. The military, with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as head, has complete authority over Myanmar’s aforementioned two military conglomerates - MEC and MEHL, as well as various other companies that have allowed for the military to be economically independent, and furthermore to continue its human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.

This Open Letter is addressed to all the 27 Member States of the European Union and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to advocate for Myanmar by:

1. the implementation of targeted sanctions against all military-affiliated companies, MEC and MEHL companies

2. the launching of a diplomatic effort aimed at building a coalition of countries imposing arms embargoes by the European Union

3. the referring of the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed since the coup d'état on 1 February and those committed against ethnic groups in years prior by the European Union

Only by carrying out the actions aforementioned can the atrocities that have been committed since the coup of February 1 and those committed against ethnic minorities in the years before can be investigated at the international level and prosecuted.

That is why we call on the European Union and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to advocate for these three measures. Burmese citizens residing in Europe, non-Burmese citizens, friends of Myanmar, and friends of democracy in general, we urge you to support this letter.

To: High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell
From: [Your Name]

To the Member States of the European Union and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell,

We write to you today to express the concerns of European citizens, and Burmese citizens residing in Europe, for the people of Myanmar. Specifically, this correspondence regarding the EU Foreign Affairs Council on the 19th of April. In short, we are appealing to you to address the military coup not solely by the imposition of sanctions on individual military leaders, but also by the imposition of targeted sanctions on military-owned companies, specifically companies belonging to the two military conglomerates - Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL). In this letter, we will express what the Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy urges you to advocate for on the behalf of European citizens and Burmese people residing in Europe at the meeting on the 19th of April.

On February 1, 2021, the military junta of Myanmar staged a coup, detaining key leaders of the ruling National League for Democracy NLD party. This was immediately followed by the military junta censoring the press, shutting down the Internet, closing banks, cutting off global communication, and announcing a state of emergency. As it stands, the people of Myanmar have been unlawfully thrust under the rule of a dangerous dictatorship that opposes the will of the people. Peaceful protestors in Myanmar have been met with coordinated, violent attacks by the military and the military has shown its willingness to escalate the violence; scores of people have been killed by the junta since the coup; thousands of people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in relation to their participation in protests or engagement in political activity.

Further help from the European Union besides condemning the coup and expressing solidarity with the people of Myanmar in the fight for democracy is needed. Personal sanctions on military leaders cannot suffice, for symbolically important though they are, their impact on the military as a whole is little. The military, with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as head, has complete authority over Myanmar’s two military conglomerates - Myanmar Economic Corporation MEC and Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited MEHL, as well as various other companies that have allowed for the military to be economically independent, and furthermore to continue its human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.

This is why we implore you today to advocate for
1. the implementation of targeted sanctions against all military-affiliated companies
2. the European Union to launch a diplomatic effort aimed at building a coalition of countries imposing arms embargoes.
3. the European Union to refer the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed since the coup on 1 February and those committed against ethnic groups in years prior.

In solidarity with the people in Myanmar, and in the interests of international peace, we urge you to take the aforementioned actions against the military junta, we urge you to extend your hand to the thousands of Burmese citizens who are risking their lives every day to protest for their rights and their liberty.