Press StatementAntony J. Blinken, Secretary of State January 31, 2023
Two years ago, Burma’s military regime usurped power from a democratically elected government – blatantly rejecting the will of Burma’s people, setting the country on a disastrous path that has killed and displaced thousands, reversing the hard-fought democratic progress achieved over the last decade.
Since the military’s coup on February 1, 2021, the political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Burma has only grown more dire, with reports indicating nearly 3,000 killed, nearly 17,000 detained, and more than 1.5 million displaced. The regime’s ongoing scorched-earth campaign continues to inflict harm and claim the lives of innocent people, fueling a worsening armed conflict within Burma and insecurity beyond its borders.
Today, the United States is imposing sanctions on six individuals and three entities linked to the regime’s efforts to generate revenue and procure arms, including senior leadership of Burma’s Ministry of Energy, Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), and Burma’s Air Force, as well as an arms dealer and a family member of a previously designated business associate of the military. We are also sanctioning the Union Electoral Commission, which the regime has deployed to advance its plans for deeply flawed elections that would subvert the will of the people of Burma. We are taking today’s action in conjunction with actions also being taken by the United Kingdom and Canada. To date, we have sanctioned, under Executive Order 14014, 80 individuals and 30 entities to deprive the regime of the means to perpetuate its violence and to promote the democratic aspirations of Burma’s people.
The United States remains firm in our position that the regime’s planned elections cannot be free or fair, not while the regime has killed, detained, or forced possible contenders to flee, nor while it continues to inflict brutal violence against its peaceful opponents. Many key political stakeholders have announced their refusal to participate in these elections, which will be neither inclusive nor representative, and which almost certainly will fuel greater bloodshed. The United States will continue to support the pro-democracy movement and its efforts to advance peace and multiparty governance in Burma. We commend those working to strengthen unity and cohesion among diverse groups who share a vision of a genuine and inclusive democracy in Burma.
The United States will also continue to promote accountability for the military’s atrocities, including through support to the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and other international efforts to protect and support vulnerable populations, including Rohingya. We welcome the actions taken by our allies and partners to urge the regime to end the crisis. We look forward to building on our cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its members, with the UN following the recent passage of the UN Security Council Resolution on the situation in Burma, and with the international community writ-large, as partners seek to uphold the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus, intensify diplomatic and economic pressure against the military, and support a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Burma.
For more information about these sanctions’ designations, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.