Government must impose sanctions on Myanmar military amid coup

13 February 2021, 12:59

By Seán Hickey

As the USA declares sanctions against Burmese military leaders, this Labour MP believes the UK should follow suit.

Rushanara Ali is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for democracy in Burma and joined Matt Frei as protests against the military coup and house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi accelerate.

Matt, who has worked alongside the Burmese leader Ms Suu Kyi in the past, quizzed the MP on how the UK should react to the military clampdown in Myanmar.

"Our government so far has been very meek," Ms Ali claimed. She believed that government must follow the lead of the USA in Myanmar.

"We need to see our government joining the US and other partners in applying pressure with targeted sanctions against the Burmese military interests."

She warned that a failure to act on the crimes of the Burmese military "just emboldens them" and will see further violence on the streets of Myanmar.

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Ms Ali added that "the Myanmar military held onto power even during the transition to democracy" such is the confidence of the organisation in the state, insisting that sanctions will "hit them where it hurts."

"Should we be working with the Chinese to reverse the course of events?" Matt wondered.

The Labour MP insisted that "too often our government has used the Chinese and the Russians as a reason not to act and that is not acceptable," suggesting that this time should be different.

"If they don't support the international effort we need to work with our American allies to apply the pressure that is needed because otherwise we'll be left doing very little when the military has committed a genocide and now, a coup."