Burma’s military junta uses a heavy hand against protesters

Water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition, this is how the Police dispersed the protests that have once again brought together tens of thousands of people against the military junta in Burma.

In the capital Naipiyido, at least 7 people were injured, according to a spokesman for the party of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

A repression that coincides with the announcement by the New Zealand Prime Minister to cut all relations with the Burmese military junta. Speaks Jacinda Ardern:

“We will do what we can from here in New Zealand and one of the things that we can do is suspend that high-level dialogue, at the political level. We can put in place travel bans, and we can make sure that the funding for the aid we put into Burma he does not support the military regime in any way. “

Since the military uprising, at least 170 people have been arrested, most of the party led by Suu Kyi, although eighteen have already been released.

Borrell admits that there is a possibility of sanctioning Burmese coup plotters

The High Representative for Foreign Policy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell, stated today in the European Parliament debate on the situation in Burma (Myanmar) that the Twenty-seven have the possibility of applying selective sanctions against people and companies owned by the country’s military, who have been responsible for the coup on February 1.

“We have three instruments to use. First, to consider additional selective sanctions on individuals and companies owned by the military – you know that in these countries the military is a great economic power; they own an important part of the country’s economic infrastructure,” Borrell said.

He also pointed out that the possibilities of reviewing development assistance in Burma and evaluating the use of the European trade preferences initiative Everything But Arms (ABE) are being evaluated.

The coup in Burma “meant that it went back in history,” Borrell stressed, so he assured that rapid action in a forceful way and in coordination with EU partners is crucial, in order to prevent military settle in power.

“We have engaged with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), India, the United States, Australia and we also discussed the situation with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi,” Borrell clarified, as he added that the EU it could not achieve change in Burma without coordination with the great powers.

However, the high representative stressed that it cannot be done in a hasty manner, but rather the repercussions on society must be assessed.

Borrell explained that about 500,000 people work in the Burma textile sector, mainly women, who would be seriously affected if trade preferences are withdrawn.

For his part, the German Daniel Caspary, from the group of the European People’s Party, pointed out that if more sanctions are adopted, the economic power of the EU in the region will also weaken, where “8% of the exports that arrive in Burma are European ”.

Mazaly Aguilar MEP, from the group of European Conservatives and Reformists, proposed that the Commission should review the application of the generalized system of preferences and halt the importation into the EU of rice from Burma.

In addition, in the debate it was pointed out that the Member States could withdraw the ambassadors of the Asian country, but Borrell argued that this measure would cut communication channels and reduce the EU’s ability to act on the ground and collect information .

Therefore, the high representative explained that the short-term objectives are focused on the immediate and unconditional release of those who have been imprisoned after the coup and that a channel for dialogue be created.

The representative of the Left group, Marisa Matías, stated that her group condemns this situation in which the Constitution has been violated, but also disapproves of the violation of human rights, when the democratic Government of Burma itself “failed to recognize the Rohingya ethnic group ”.

“We want to support the democratic transition,” said Borrell, and although there are disagreements after the 2017 events against the Rohingya ethnic group, the EU will continue to call for the government to return and “that they can pay their blame for this genocide.”