Three years ago, the UN-mandated Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Myanmar released a report detailing the Myanmar military’s vast web of control over the country’s economy. The findings demonstrated that the military was able to generate unrestricted profits and influence to perpetuate an unending cycle of abuses and impunity.
In the wake of the security forces’ atrocities against the Rohingya, the FFM in 2019 urged the international community to take immediate steps to financially isolate Myanmar’s generals. But that urgent action never came.
Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing and other commanders continued to shore up their financial power. China and Russia continued selling them arms.
Since the 2021 coup, that flow of revenue and weapons has underwritten the crimes against humanity and war crimes carried out by the military junta around the country. Evidence that should be spurring governments to action continues to mount. Just last Friday, junta forces killed at least 11 children in an airstrike on a school in Sagaing Region.
Governments should work together to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of sanctions, targeting the junta’s profits from gas and other extractives, its largest source of foreign revenue.
ASEAN states should signal their support for such measures, as well as a UN Security Council resolution to impose an arms embargo and sanctions.
Governments have the information they need to build a roadmap toward cutting off the junta from foreign funding and arms sales to curtail corruption and hinder further attacks on civilians. Such steps are crucial for moving toward a future democratic and rights-respecting Myanmar.