The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on governments to work together to impose sanctions on Myanmar’s natural gas reserves.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Myanmar’s military will continue to generate significant revenue from natural gas and other sources of revenue as long as new sanctions do not prohibit foreign exchange payments to the regime.
The call comes after Total Energy and Chevron left Myanmar on January 21 to address the deteriorating human rights situation.
The rights group, however, said natural gas revenues to Junta would continue because other companies would take over after the two powers left.
“After nearly a year in power, the Myanmar Junta is committing atrocities at the expense of the international community,” HRW Asia Advocate Director John Siften said in a January 25 press release.
Junta leaders will not back down from their brutality and oppression unless governments put more significant financial pressure on them.
As long as the energy company Junta from Myanmar continues to make money, it will only be a signal
Natural gas projects in Myanmar generate more than US $ 1 billion in revenue for Junta, a major foreign exchange earner.
The money is denominated in minimal oil and gas enterprise (MOGE) and other military-controlled foreign bank accounts in the form of tariffs, taxes, royalties and dividends, most of which travel via pipeline. To Thailand and China, as HRW.
Since last February’s coup, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Junta leaders and seven congressmen, as well as companies owned or controlled by Myanmar’s military, but not on MOGE or payments.
The group said in particular that US and EU gas payments – which are handled by US and non-EU companies – are in US dollars and involve US and EU banks and are key to imposing sanctions.
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When Total Energy and Chevron leave Myanmar, the flow of money to Junta will not be interrupted. Total Energy said the construction of the Yadana field and pipeline would continue for six months under existing agreements.
The largest source of revenue for Junta-controlled accounts comes from Thailand’s state-owned oil and gas company PTTT, which buys 80 percent of Myanmar’s natural gas exports from Yadan and the self-sufficient oil field. HRW
“As long as the power company Junta from Myanmar continues to receive funding, there will be only signs,” Sifton said. “If there is any improvement in human rights, the United States and the European Union must urgently put in place measures that will have a real economic impact on Junta.”
Following the overthrow of the elected civilian government, Myanmar’s military cracked down on anti-coup protesters, activists, journalists and political opponents. The ensuing terror has claimed more than 1,400 lives, and human rights groups say such atrocities are tantamount to crimes against humanity.
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