Sunday

3rd Mar 2024

EU threatens more sanctions after Myanmar 'day of horror'

  • EU and US united in condemnation, but Russia and China unwilling to act (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The EU has threatened further sanctions against the Myanmar junta after slayings of women and children, but Russia pledged allegiance to one of its top arms buyers.

"The Myanmar military has made yesterday a day of horror and of shame," EU foreign elations chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday (28 March).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We will continue to use the EU's mechanisms, including sanctions, to target the perpetrators of this violence," he added, after soldiers shot dead 114 people at a funeral of one pro-democracy protester on Saturday.

The UK, the US, and UN officials reacted with similar statements.

"Today's killing of unarmed civilians, including children, marks a new low," UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said.

"It's terrible. It's absolutely outrageous ... totally unnecessary," US president Joe Biden said.

Military chiefs of 11 nations, including EU states Germany, Greece, Italy, Denmark, and the Netherlands, as well as the UK and US, also spoke out, in an unusual move, urging the junta to "cease violence and work to continue to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar".

"An 11-year old boy, an 11-year old girl, two 13-year old boys, a 13-year old girl, three 16-year old boys and two 17-year old boys, [were] all reportedly shot and killed," Henrietta Fore, the head of the UN children's agency Unicef, said.

"Today the junta of Myanmar has made 'Armed Forces Day' a day of infamy with the massacre of men, women, and very young children," Tom Andrews, a UN expert on Myanmar, noted.

"Words of condemnation or concern are frankly ringing hollow ... It is past time for robust, coordinated action," he said.

UN officials also told the AP news agency the Security Council was likely to hold talks on the crisis in the coming days.

But there is little the outside world can do, short of imposing a symbolic arms embargo or economic restrictions.

And even that was in doubt, given Russia's decision to embrace the Myanmar military, to whom it supplied some 16 percent of its weapons in the 2014 to 2019 period, according to Swedish think-tank, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Russia, which holds a veto on UN action, sent its deputy defence minister, Alexander Fomin, to Myanmar this weekend, where he shook hands with the junta leader, general Min Aung Hlaing, and received a ceremonial sword and medal in an event broadcast on Russian TV.

"You, distinguished senior general, took part in our parade last year, our parade commemorating the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War [WW2]. And this visit of ours - it's a response to yours," Fomin said.

China, another major Myanmar arms supplier and UN veto-holder, stayed silent over the weekend.

The EU, last week, imposed sanctions on 11 junta members, including Aung Hlaing, and threatened "additional restrictive measures against economic entities owned or controlled by the military".

But "UN Security Council member states' continued refusal to meaningfully act against this never-ending horror is contemptible," Ming Yu Hah, a spokesman for international rights group Amnesty International, said.

EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit

The European Commission will release €50m out of €82m in funds for the UN aid agency (UNRWA) operating in Gaza. The remaining €32m will come pending an audit. The commission has received no evidence to support Israeli allegations against UNRWA.

Opinion

The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse

With Alexei Navalny's funeral in Moscow on Friday, Vladimir Putin's regime haven't just insulted his mother and widow with their treatment of his corpse — they've breached international treaties and conventions.

Latest News

  1. EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit
  2. 'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child
  3. Commission plays down row over Rwanda minerals pact
  4. EU socialists set to anoint placeholder candidate
  5. Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?
  6. Deepfake dystopia — Russia's disinformation in Spain and Italy
  7. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats
  8. EU won't yet commit funding UN agency in Gaza amid hunger

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us