Besides India, Russia, China, Singapore, and Thailand also provided military support to the Myanmar junta, stated UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews. However, India’s assistance was low compared with that of Russia, China, and Singapore, but higher than Thailand.
“Russia and China continue to be the main suppliers of advanced weapons systems to the Myanmar military, accounting for over $400 million and $260 million respectively since the coup, with much of the trade originating from state-owned entities. However, arms dealers operating out of Singapore are critical to the continued operation of the Myanmar military’s deadly weapons factories (commonly referred to as KaPaSa),” Andrews said in its report released on Wednesday.
Similarly, the report revealed that $254 million of supplies was shipped from dozens of entities in Singapore to the Myanmar military from February 2021 to December 2022. And, Thailand’s support, as the report documents, was the least at $28 million.
Overall, the Myanmar military imported at least $1 billion in arms and raw materials to manufacture weapons from February 2021. The UN describes Special Rapporteur’s paper, “The Billion Dollar Death Trade: International Arms Networks that Enable Human Rights Violations in Myanmar” as the most detailed study on post-coup arms transfers to the military to date.
Sanctions not enforced properly
UN Special Rapporteur said the Myanmar military and its arms dealers have figured out how to game the system. “That’s because sanctions are not being adequately enforced and because arms dealers linked to the junta have been able to create shell companies to avoid them,” Andrews insists.
The expert said the ad hoc, uncoordinated nature of current sanctions was responsible for payments to be made in other currencies and jurisdictions. “Member States have not adequately targeted key sources of foreign currency that the junta relies on to purchase arms, including most significantly Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise,” Andrews said.
The report lamented that no member state has imposed sanctions on Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB), which the junta uses for arms purchase, since the coup.