Why a New U.N. Report Won’t Reduce International Support for Myanmar’s Military

Why a New U.N. Report Won’t Reduce International Support for Myanmar’s Military
Myanmar military officers march during a parade to mark the 74th Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 27, 2019 (AP photo by Aung Shine Oo).

Last week, the United Nations’ independent fact-finding mission on Myanmar released a new report that documents the economic interests of the Myanmar military and the global network of countries and companies that are financing the country’s genocidal “clearance operations” against the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority. The report urged U.N. member states to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and financial sanctions on the country’s military-owned companies. But according to David Scott Mathieson, a Yangon-based independent analyst who focuses on a range of human rights, conflict and peace issues in Myanmar, the mission’s findings are unlikely to significantly alter the status quo. In an email interview with WPR, he explains why.

World Politics Review: What are the most important takeaways from last week’s report by the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar?

David Scott Mathieson: The U.N. fact-finding mission has produced a very comprehensive report into the economic interests of the Myanmar military, outlining the structure of the country’s military holding companies—the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings and Myanmar Economic Corporation—and their involvement in a range of businesses including jade and gem mining, as well as their partnerships with other companies both in Myanmar and overseas. Many of these activities have been well established and documented for over two decades. There is not much that is new in the U.N.’s report, but it does provide a detailed guide to the extent of the military’s business interests.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review