Report: International companies assist Myanmar’s military in producing weaponry.

According to former top UN officials, Myanmar’s military is manufacturing a wide variety of weapons to use against its own citizens with the help of supplies from businesses in at least 13 other nations.

Despite Western-led sanctions aimed at isolating Myanmar, the US, France, India, and Japan are among those mentioned.

According to the study, crimes are committed against people who support the military using guns made domestically.

Since a military coup in February 2021, violence has overtaken Myanmar.

In an effort to oppose military authority, opponents of the coup that toppled the elected government have allied with ethnic rebel groups.

According to the Special Advisory Council on Myanmar report, a number of UN members still supply the military with weaponry.

The ability of Myanmar’s armed forces to create a range of weaponry in-country, which are used to attack civilians, is cited as an equally crucial element.

According to the research, the companies mentioned provide Myanmar’s military with equipment, training, and raw materials, and the resulting weaponry are not utilized to protect the country’s borders.

Yanghee Lee, one of the report’s authors and the former Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for the UN, asserts that no foreign nation has ever attacked Myanmar.

Myanmar also doesn’t export any weapons. It has produced its own weapons since 1950 to employ against its own people.

According to official statistics, the military has killed over 2,600 people since the most recent coup. The actual death toll is estimated to be ten times greater.

According to Soe Win Tan, head of the BBC’s Burmese service, “When it started… it looked that the military might overcome those fledgling opposition movements, but the tide has changed a little bit in recent months and weeks.”

What the Myanmar junta’s air force lacks, according to the opposition, is that power.

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Myanmar’s leaders continue to produce a wide range of weaponry, including sniper rifles, anti-aircraft guns, missile launchers, grenades, bombs, and landmines, despite the weight of the sanctions and international isolation imposed in the wake of the coup.

Chris Sidoti and Marzuki Darusman, both members of the UN’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, wrote the report alongside Yanghee Lee.

Along with interviews with former soldiers and satellite images of the companies, their work sources leaked military documents. Photos have also been extremely helpful: pictures from 2017 show that home-made weaponry were utilized prior to the coup.

During the Inn Din Massacre, when Myanmar troops killed 10 unarmed ethnic Rohingya males, soldiers could be seen holding guns made in Myanmar.

Chris Sidoti continues, “More recently, we have the atrocities that took place in the Sagaing district, specifically the bombing and shelling of a school that resulted in the deaths of a lot of children and others.

The weapons discovered, or the military artillery shell casings discovered on that occasion, were easily traceable to those manufacturing facilities.

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It’s thought that Austria provided some of the machinery required to construct the weapons. According to the Special Advisory Council, gun barrels are produced in numerous sites using high-precision machinery made by the Austrian supplier GFM Steyr.

The machines are allegedly repaired by GFM Steyr specialists in Taiwan before being brought back to Myanmar when they require maintenance. According to the study, it’s unclear whether the technicians working for the Austrian company are aware that the items they are developing would be utilized inside Myanmar.

An inquiry from the BBC seeking comment on the report’s findings was not answered by GFM Steyr.

Although the report’s authors acknowledge they have only found a small portion of the weapons production network, several nations are believed to be involved:

Copper and iron thought to be imported from China and Singapore have been linked to the manufacturing of weapons in Myanmar.
Using shipping records and interviews with former military sources, it has been possible to trace key components like fuses and electric detonators to businesses in India and Russia.
According to reports, the equipment used in Myanmar’s armament manufacturers originates from the US, Ukraine, Germany, and Japan. The machines’ programming software is thought to have come from France and Israel.
According to the research, Singapore appears to serve as a transit center, with Singaporean businesses acting as middlemen between Myanmar’s military buyers and outside suppliers.
Despite being subject to a number of international restrictions for many years, Myanmar’s military has continued to produce weapons. From six manufacturers in 1988 to as many as 25 today, the number of factories is increasing.

According to Chris Sidoti, “the international sanctions have been quite hit or miss.” “The United Nations Security Council has not imposed sanctions; rather, only individual states or groups of states have done so.

Therefore, it has been quite simple for many corporations to bypass the restrictions by interacting with local Myanmar middlemen or through companies in nations that do not apply sanctions.

It appears that Myanmar does not currently sell weapons to other nations. But in 2019, it displayed a variety of weaponry during a weapons trade event in Thailand. On display shelves at the fair, grenade launchers, bombs, and bullets were all organized in tidy rows.

The average person’s life in Myanmar is extremely difficult, according to Ronan Lee, a doctorate lecturer at Loughborough University in London.

“Myanmar is not operating as a functional nation, and I believe that internal state collapse is imminent.

“The international community now has the chance to show the military that it must stop developing weapons that it will use against civilians if it truly cares about the people of Myanmar.”

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