Saturday, December 12, 2009

Australia urged to blacklist MOGE

by Salai Pi Pi
Friday, 11 December 2009 22:05

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A Sydney-based campaign group on Thursday urged the Australian government to include the state-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) in its list of sanctions.

Burma Campaign Australia (BCA) in a statement released on Thursday said Australia should include the MOGE in its financial sanctions list, to stop Australian companies from dealing with the enterprise.

“In the interest of the people of Burma, we urge the Australian Government to place the MOGE on the Australian financial sanctions list and stop Australian companies from providing billions to the regime through this agency,” Zetty Brake, spokesperson of BCA, said in the statement.

“Not only is Burma’s oil and gas industry providing the regime with the financial resources to brutally oppress the population, it is also linked to human rights abuses,” she added.

BCA’s statement said energy sector projects in Burma have been extensively linked to human rights abuses, such as confiscation of farmlands and housing, forced labour, forced relocation of villages and abuses by security battalions including rape, sexual violence, torture and extra-judicial killings.

Australia, which has strongly urged the Burmese regime to promote human rights and to go for genuine democratic reforms and national reconciliation, had imposed visa restrictions and arms embargo against the Burmese generals.

In 2007, the financial sanctions list was revised to include members of the Burmese regime, their families and associates and supporters.

So far, Australia had included a number of managing directors of Burmese military-owned companies including Bandoola Transportation Co., Myawaddy Trading Co., Myanmar Brewery Ltd, Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL), Myanmar Land and Development and Hsinmin Cement Plant Construction Project in its sanctions list.

Debbie Stothard, director of a regional campaign group Alternative Asean Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) said on Friday that Australia’s sanctions on the Burmese regime will not be effective if the MOGE, which is a fully state-owned enterprise and acts to oversee and reap profits from oil and gas and deals with foreign corporations, is not included in the sanctions list.

“It is important that sanctions need to improve against the Oil and Gas sector. Then, they will seriously pay attention to sanctions because it seriously hurts them. SPDC’s main income is from Oil and Gas,” she added, referring to the Burmese junta by its official name – the State Peace and Development Council.

The Burmese regime will continue to ignore international pressures as long as sanctions are not effective and does not hurt them, she added.

In September, BCA said Australian companies Twinza Oil and Jetstar are financing the Burmese regime. The group said the Burmese junta could support 48,000 annually with revenues earned from its cooperation with Twinza.

Leave a Reply