Burma: the junta has imported a billion weapons since 2021

There burmese junta has, since its 2021 coup, imported a billion dollars (about 900 million euros) in weapons that it has used “to commit atrocities”. This is what is denounced by the special rapporteur of the UN (United Nations) for Burma, in a report released Wednesday.

Since the 2021 putsch, “the military have killed at least 3,500 civilians” and imprisoned more than 20,000 political prisoners, underlines Tom Andrews, UN special rapporteur for human rights in Burma.

At least $1 billion worth of “weapons, dual-use technology, and materials used to make weapons” were imported by the junta between February 1, 2021, the day of the coup, and December 2022, mostly in from Russian, Chinese, Singaporean and Indian suppliers. “Entities based in Russia and China are essential to the Burmese army” to obtain armaments and spare parts, writes Tom Andrews.

Used to “commit atrocities”

“These weapons and the materials needed to manufacture them have continued to be sent without interruption to the Burmese army, despite the overwhelming evidence of its responsibility for atrocious crimes”, denounces the UN expert. He cites the “brutal attack” on an opposition-controlled village in which 170 people, including children, were killed. He sees it as “another example of how the Burmese junta uses internationally supplied weapons (…) to commit atrocities”.

In the report, “The Billion-Dollar Death Market: The International Arms Networks That Enable Human Rights Violations in Burma”, Tom Andrews Calls for a Complete Ban on the Sale or Transfer of Arms to the Burmese army.

It also urges UN member states to apply sanctions against arms dealers and sources of foreign currency. “By broadening and adjusting sanctions and eliminating loopholes, governments can disrupt arms dealers linked to the junta,” argues the rapporteur.

Mandated by the United Nations Council for Human Rights, he regrets that the “Member States (don’t have) failed to adequately target the main sources of foreign currency that the junta relies on to buy weapons, including the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.”

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