8 August 2023
8888 Uprising Anniversary: Myanmar Campaign Network Calls for Sanctions Against Junta
Today Myanmar Campaign Network (MCN) commemorates the 35th anniversary of the wave of pro-democracy protests that erupted in Myanmar (Burma) in 1988. Now known as the 8888 Uprising, the legacy of the 88 Generation lives on in the courage and resilience of the Spring Revolution, as people continue to risk their lives to stand up for their rights and call for federal democracy. MCN calls on the Australian Government to stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and the legitimate government of Myanmar, the National Unity Government (NUG) by answering their call for further targeted sanctions against the junta, and its affiliated businesses.
Just as the 8888 movement was sparked by a call from student activists to demonstrate against the ruling military junta, spreading to nationwide protests, the resistance to the 2021 coup saw millions of people taking to the streets, led by the Civil Disobedience Movement.
Both movements saw the use of violence and lethal force against protestors. After the subsequent military coup on 19 September 1988, it is estimated that up to 10,000 people were killed or missing with thousands more imprisoned.
Today in Myanmar over 19,740 political prisoners arrested since the 2021 coup are still in prison, subject to inhumane conditions. Over 3897 people including women and children have been killed by the military since the coup. Widespread persecution of the people continues throughout Myanmar, with the military relying on airstrikes by jet and helicopter gunships as they fail to control the majority of the country.
While the Myanmar military has robust arms production capability, it relies on foreign revenue to purchase Russian and Chinese made jets and helicopters, as well as aviation fuel, dual-use goods, and spare parts. India, Singapore, and Thailand are also found to supply the junta, which has imported over USD 1 billion in arms & raw materials to manufacture weapons
Since the Myanmar junta announced a 51% increase in the regime’s military spending for the fiscal year 2023-2024, from USD 1.8 billion to USD 2.7 billion, sanctions are imperative to cut off the junta’s access to foreign revenue.
MCN calls on the Australian Government to sanction high value targets such as state-owned enterprises in lucrative sectors such as oil and gas, mining, timber, gems, and banking. Members of the junta’s State Administration Council and appointed ministers and departments should be subject to asset freezes and travel bans.
Waves of protests over decades have made it clear that the people of Myanmar want an end to military dictatorship. For the first time in Myanmar’s history since independence, this widespread movement for true federal democracy and human rights has been sustained.
It is the responsibility of the international community, including Australia, to respond by taking meaningful action, such as targeted sanctions against those responsible for ongoing atrocities, and to support the legitimate interim institutions of Myanmar, including the National Unity Government, who are working towards a federal democracy based on human rights, justice, and equality.
Myanmar Campaign Network
+61 2 8203 6044