US Sanctions Burma’s State Oil and Gas Company Over Junta’s Atrocities

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
November 1, 2023Asia & Pacific
US Sanctions Burma’s State Oil and Gas Company Over Junta’s Atrocities
Burma military soldiers stand guard after arriving overnight with armoured vehicles near the Central Bank in Yangon, Burma, on Feb. 15, 2021. (Hkun Lat/Getty Images)

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Burma’s most lucrative state-owned enterprise, the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), in a bid to stifle funding for the military junta’s arms supply.

The sanctions, which will take effect on Dec. 15, prohibit Americans from “providing, exporting, or reexporting, directly or indirectly, financial services” to MOGE, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

State Secretary Antony Blinken said the sanctions against MOGE were implemented in concert with measures taken by the United Kingdom and Canada to deny the regime’s access to arms and supplies.

Mr. Blinken said that MOGE “provides hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign revenues every year to the military regime’s coffers,” which the junta uses to purchase weapons and military material from abroad.

“Through the issuance of a financial services directive against MOGE, the United States seeks to disrupt the regime’s access to the U.S. financial system and curtail its ability to perpetrate atrocities,” he added.

Burma’s oil and gas industry is the junta’s biggest source of foreign-currency revenue, generating $1.72 billion in the six months to March 2022 alone, according to Justice For Myanmar, citing the junta’s figures.

Additional Sanctions on Individuals, Entities

The Treasury Department also announced additional sanctions on five regime officials and three companies with links to the military junta.

The targeted companies—Sky Royal Hero, Suntac Technologies, and Suntac International Trading—were accused of assisting the regime’s arms import from sanctioned entities in Russia and other countries.

Similarly, the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on five individuals and one entity involved in either providing financial services to the military regime or supplying restricted goods, including aircraft parts.

Canada’s government also sanctioned 39 individuals and 22 entities accused of helping the military junta since it overthrew the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, 2021.

Canada said it would expand its prohibition on the sale of aviation fuel to include a ban on the provision of shipping insurance for the transportation of aviation fuel to Burma, also known as Myanmar.

These measures were made in response to the junta’s “worsening aerial attacks, including against civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as mass arson, the razing of villages, arbitrary detentions, executions, torture, mutilations, and mass killings of civilians,” it stated.

‘Climate of Fear’

Burma has been plunged into turmoil since the military junta seized power in February 2021, with violence flaring in several regions as opposition groups clash with the military.

On Oct. 9, at least 29 civilians were killed, and 57 others were wounded after the junta dropped bombs on a displaced persons camp in Waingmaw Township, Kachin state, according to Free Burma Rangers.

Free Burma Rangers told The Epoch Times that “many buildings and houses” were destroyed in the attack, although it was unclear whether the attack was caused by artillery fire or bombs from combat jets.

James Rodehaver, chief of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights’ (OHCHR) Burma team, said the junta had created a “climate of fear” to subjugate civilians by using heavy weaponry on civilian areas, launching airstrikes, torching villages, and using landmines to prevent those forced to flee from returning home.

“Another thing that they have done regularly has been to burn food stores, crops, and seed stores, to destroy medical facilities, and to target medical workers,” Mr. Rodehaver said in a statement on June 30.

More than 4,160 people have died at the hands of the military and its affiliates as of Nov. 1, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. A total of 25,367 people have been arrested by the junta.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.