The Lower House of Parliament in Burma passed an Anti-Terror Bill on Monday. Drafting of the bill began during a spate of bombings across Burma in 2013, including bombs in Rangoon’s Traders Hotel on 14 October and at an event held by monk Wirathu.
The Anti-Terror Bill was introduced in the Upper House on 20 January, which passed it without amendments three days later.
Despite last year’s attacks, the Bill is designed largely to block funding for terrorism, and was prioritised alongside an Anti-Money Laundering Bill ahead of increased Burmese engagement with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body responsible for policy development in anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
In January, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Kyaw Htun noted the importance of the bill in demonstrating Burma’s resolve against international terror. Kyaw Kyaw Tun noted the potential for further foreign sanctions should they not assure terrorist financing is blocked in Burma.
Saw Hla Tun, secretary of the Lower House’s Bill Committee, explained the amendments:
“We amended the bill to meet with international standardisations, conform to agreements and conventions Burma has signed or ratified as well as resolutions by the United Nations Security Council.”
As well as anti-money laundering laws, the amended Bill as passed by the Lower House contains 72 articles including offences concerning nuclear and radioactive materials and atomic facilities.
Burma signed an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency in September last year, paving the way for IAEA weapons inspections and beginning a process of de-mystifying Burma’s nuclear secrets.