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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Exposing the Thai Banks Fueling Myanmar's Military Regime

The crisis in Myanmar has reached a dire stage, exacerbated by the involvement of Thai banks, particularly Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), in financing the military's brutal crackdown on civilians. Over the past six months, military airstrikes targeting civilians have surged dramatically, a direct consequence of the State Administration Council (SAC) securing a continuous flow of weapons and financial support.🚨💔

The SAC has adeptly sidestepped international sanctions by diversifying its sources of weapons, exploiting legal loopholes, and establishing relationships with new financial institutions. This strategic maneuvering has enabled the SAC to sustain its operations, ensuring the continuation of horrific attacks on innocent civilians across Myanmar.🛡️🏦

Recent data reveals a significant decline in international arms imports via the financial system, dropping from $377 million in FY2022 to $253 million in FY2023. Concurrently, arms exports from Singapore plummeted from $110 million to just $10 million. In this vacuum, Thailand has emerged as the primary supplier of arms to the SAC, with Thai companies doubling weapon transfers from $60 million to $120 million between FY2022 and FY2023.💰🔫

Thai banks, notably Siam Commercial Bank, play a pivotal role in facilitating this unethical trade. In FY2023 alone, SCB facilitated over $100 million in military transactions, a stark increase from $5 million in FY2022. These transactions highlight Thai banks' complicity in enabling Myanmar's military regime to procure essential weapons and military supplies, thereby perpetuating the cycle of violence.

Calls for accountability are urgent and necessary. We demand immediate actions: banks must terminate or freeze all transactions with Myanmar’s state-owned banks, conduct rigorous due diligence on all Myanmar-related financial activities, and pressure the Thai government to publicly oppose and halt all weapon transfers to Myanmar, following the proactive measures taken by Singapore.🚫🔍

Thai banks are unequivocally complicit in the murder of innocent civilians in Myanmar. It is imperative to halt the flow of money and weapons to Myanmar's military regime to bring an end to these unspeakable atrocities.🛑

✊Whilst you’re here, learn more about our work on Potfolio ‘Corporate Accountability and Climate Justice’!:

Just Energy Transition and the suppression of Vietnam's climate activists: what does it mean for the Mekong region?, 7 July 2023


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