On Tuesday Human Rights Watch called on the Japanese government to immediately review its aid portfolio for Myanmar and to suspend non-humanitarian projects that benefit the junta or military in Myanmar.
Human Rights Watch called on Japan to immediately suspend Official Development Aid (ODA) infrastructure projects carried out by Myanmar government ministries and other assistance involving military-controlled entities.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch said: ‘Japan has a long, historical relationship with Myanmar and has continually been one of the largest donors to the country. It’s clear that Japan is quite influential both in terms of the size of monetary support and the strong connections forged between the two governments, so if Tokyo steps back, this will be a very damaging blow to the SAC junta.’
According to Robertson Human Rights Watch regards the suspension of non-humanitarian aid as ‘a reasonable step to demand suspension of aid projects that benefit the military coup government far more than the ordinary people of the country.’
Since the beginning of the coup in Myanmar in February human rights groups and activists have called for economic boycotts on the Myanmar military.
Robertson added: ‘There is no substitute for targeted economic sanctions on Myanmar’s military leaders, and the military conglomerates they control, including Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC). It’s particularly important that there be serious targeting of the state enterprise Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), and the cut off of foreign company payments to the military’s coffers via MOGE. Total, Chevron and the PTT should be hit hard to make sure they go along with this effort to prevent money reaching the Myanmar military.’
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