On 22 December 2017, the UN Security Council imposed its latest round of sanctions against North Korea by adopting Resolution 2397 (see previous blog here). Among other things, that Resolution expanded sectoral sanctions by introducing a ban on North Korean exports of food and agricultural products, machinery, electrical equipment, earth and stone, wood and vessels. It also introduced a ban on the supply, sale or transfer to North Korea of all industrial machinery, transportation vehicles, iron, steel and other metals.
The UK has provided for these new measures by passing the North Korea (United Nations Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2018, SI 2018/523, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Sanctions) (Overseas Territories) (Amendment) Order 2018, SI 2018/524. Both Orders will come into force on 22 May 2018.
On 26 April 2018, the EU adopted (inter alia) a legal framework to impose targeted measures in relation to its Burma/Myanmar sanctions, see Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/655 and Council Regulation (EU) 2018/647 (previous blog here).
The UK has provided for this legal framework by passing the Burma (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2018, SI 2018/539. The Regulations will come into force on 21 May 2018.
Last week, the EU continued its arms embargo on Burma/Myanmar for 1 year and expanded it to include a prohibition on the export of dual-use goods for use by the military and Border Guard Police, and imposed restrictions on the export of equipment for monitoring communications that may be used for internal repression (previous blog). As a result, the UK Export Control Joint Unit has announced that it has amended and republished the following 5 Open General Export Licences (OGELs) (to remove Burma/Myanmar as a permitted destination from Schedule 2):
1. Export after exhibition: dual-use items
2. Export after repair/replacement under warranty: dual-use items
3. Export for repair/replacement under warranty: dual use items
4. Low value shipments
The EU has continued for 1 year its arms embargo on Burma/Myanmar, and has expanded it to include:
1. A prohibition on the export of dual-use goods for use by the military and border guard police;
2. Restrictions on the export of equipment for monitoring communications that might be used for internal repression; and
3. A prohibition on the provision of military training to, and military cooperation with, the Burma/Myanmar army.
The EU has also adopted a legal framework to impose targeted sanctions (travel bans and asset freezes) against individuals of the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and the border guard police who are deemed responsible for (inter alia) “serious human rights violations” (no individuals or entities listed yet). The EU previously had targeted sanctions in place against Burma/Myanmar but were completely lifted in April 2013 (previous blog here).
These EU measures were adopted today as a result of the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 26 February 2018 on the situation in Burma/Myanmar (previous blog here). See Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/655 and Council Regulation (EU) 2018/647. EU press release here, and UK OFSI Notice here.
Yesterday, the EU adopted conclusions on the situation in Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia and Maldives.
In respect of Myanmar/Burma (particularly Rakhine State), the EU condemned the “ongoing widespread, systematic grave human rights violations committed by Myanmar/Burma military and security forces”. It also invited the High Representative to make proposals for an extension to the existing arms embargo, as well as targeted sanctions to be imposed against senior military officers of the Myanmar armed forces (Tatmadaw) responsible for “serious and systematic human rights violations”. Links to the EU conclusions on Myanmar/Burma and the press release.
In respect of Cambodia, the EU decided that it might consider targeted measures if the “continu[ed] deterioration of democracy, respect of human rights and the rule of law” in Cambodia failed to improve. It particular, the EU urged the Cambodian Government to “stop using the judiciary as a political tool to harass and intimidate political opponents, civil society, labour rights activists and human rights defenders”. Links to EU conclusions on Cambodia and the press release.
In relation to Maldives, the EU called on the competent Maldivian institutions to “lift immediately the state of emergency and restore all constitutionally guaranteed rights”. It also decided that if the current situation failed to improve, targeted measures might be considered. Links to EU conclusions on Maldives and the press release.
The Canadian Government has imposed targeted sanctions (asset freeze) against Burma’s former Major-General Maung Maung Soe, pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law), by amending the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Regulations.
Maung Maung Soe was sanctioned for being “responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State” which “forced more than 688,000 Rohingya to flee their country”. Canadian press release here.
OFAC added Maung Maung Soe to its Global Magnitsky sanctions list on 21 December 2017 (see previous blog here).
The US Committee on Foreign Relations has unanimously voted to report the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017 with amendments favourably to the US Senate.
The Bill – which was introduced to the Senate on 2 November 2017 – makes provision for the imposition of US visa bans and economic sanctions against “senior officials of the military and security forces of Burma” that have “played a direct and substantial role in the commission of human rights abuses in Burma, including against the Rohingya minority population”.
There are also measures prohibiting specific military cooperation between the US and Burma until the Secretary of Defence can certify that the Burmese military has demonstrated (inter alia) significant progress in abiding by international human rights standards.
The next stage is for the Senate to vote on the Bill. A similar Bill was also introduced on 2 November 2017 in the House of Representatives, see the Burma Act of 2017.
The US House of Representatives has passed a Resolution “condemning ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and calling for an end to the attacks in and an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the state of Rakhine in Burma”. Among other things, the Resolution calls on the President to impose sanctions on “those responsible for human rights abuses, including members of Burma’s military and security services”. The Resolution will now move to the Senate for approval.
The US Department of State has issued a statement on the “current crisis in Rakhine state”, expressing its “gravest concern with recent events”, including “the violent, traumatic abuses Rohingya and other communities have endured”. It further stated that “it is imperative that any individuals or entities responsible for atrocities, including non-state actors and vigilantes, be held accountable.”
In addition to the existing restrictions on US engagement with Burma’s armed forces and the US embargo on all military sales, the US has stated that it will be taking “actions in pursuit of accountability and an end to violence”. Those actions include: ceasing consideration of travel waivers for current and former senior leadership of the Burmese military; considering economic options available to “target individuals associated with atrocities”; and exploring accountability mechanisms under US law, including Global Magnitsky targeted sanctions.