The Myanmar Military Junta – A Domestic and Regional Terrorist Outfit

July 8th, 2022  •  Author:   Progressive Voice  •  7 minute read
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“Stopping supplies of aviation fuel must be a priority as ending airstrikes is probably the single most effective action that can be taken to stop mass displacement and the humanitarian crisis being created by airstrikes.”

International Karen Organisation

Unrelenting brutal military offensives by the Myanmar military in Karen State are creating terror among local populations, and spilling over the border into Thailand. Yet both Thailand and ASEAN’s response to this regional security and humanitarian crisis reflects a preference to placate a murderous junta than to help the people who are suffering from their indiscriminate violence.

Since 24 June, the junta has escalated its offensives against the armed forces of the Karen National Union, as well as their allied people’s defence forces (PDFs) operating in the southeast of Myanmar, near the border with Thailand. Constant heavy shelling, airstrikes and long-range artillery being fired into villages is displacing thousands of people. The International Karen Organisation has documented the deaths of at least 13 people, including two children, due to this increase in military attacks. Fighting has been particularly intense near the Thai border, as a battle for control of the Oo Ka Yit Hta base has resulted in several days of airstrikes being launched by the military junta. On 30 June, footage showed a Myanmar military fighter jet violate Thai airspace, causing the Thai airforce to scramble two of its own fighter jets and causing the communities in two Thai villages to take cover. A Thai school near the border is now undergoing air raid drills and has been repainted with a huge Thai flag. While the Thai Prime Minister sought to underplay this violation, citing the friendship between the two countries, regional civil society organizations have heavily criticized the Thai Government’s response. In a statement they pointed out that Thailand’s repeated cooperation with the military junta only “emboldens the junta to perpetrate more gross human rights violations” and also “threatens the safety and well-being of Thais along the border.”

This softly-softly approach to the murderous junta is in line with ASEAN’s engagement, exemplified by the ASEAN Special Envoy’s second trip to Myanmar last week. The envoy, Prak Sokhonn, who is also the Foreign Minister of current ASEAN Chair, Cambodia, met with the junta-leader, Min Aung Hlaing, and only seven, smaller ethnic armed organizations that had been approved by Min Aung Hlaing. Sokhonn did not meet with detained State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the National Unity Government, Ethnic Revolutionary Organizations (EROs), nor civil society organizations. This kind of engagement only serves to legitimize the terrorist junta, and without consulting and working with the legitimate representatives of the people of Myanmar will only result in a failure of ASEAN’s approach to the crises.

The junta’s increasing reliance on airpower, as seen in Karen State daily for the past week, reflects a situation where it is unable to defeat the resistance forces during ground-battles, and thus reverts to often indiscriminate aerial attacks. This is all the more reason why it is essential that aviation fuel is sanctioned by the international community. International companies are still supplying the junta with the fuel it needs to murder people using fighter jets and attack helicopters. As the International Karen Organisation stated, “Stopping supplies of aviation fuel must be a priority as ending airstrikes is probably the single most effective action that can be taken to stop mass displacement and the humanitarian crisis being created by airstrikes.” Not only can more be done to stop this supply of aviation fuel, but an international arms embargo, coupled with targeted economic sanctions that are aimed squarely at the junta’s business interests and supply of cash, is urgently needed to support the Myanmar people’s Spring Revolution.

Furthermore, the diplomatic placation by ASEAN and its member states is an affront to the heroes of the Spring Revolution. As the people of Myanmar know only too well, this type of compromise and engagement only emboldens the military to continue to act with total impunity, whether firing indiscriminately in civilian villages, or flying into a neighboring countries’ airspace. This latest breach of international law should serve as a warning of what the junta is capable of, and how it will stop at nothing in its failing attempts to eliminate the fierce and determined resistance to their coup attempt unless the international community acts with concerted and coordinated efforts to support the forces of Myanmar’s Spring Revolution.


[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term ‘Myanmar’ in acknowledgement that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of ‘Myanmar’ rather than ‘Burma’ without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten. Thus, under certain circumstances, ‘Burma’ is used.

Resources from the past week


Statements and Press Releases

Open letter to Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong from 688 civil society organisations

By 688 Myanmar, Regional and International Civil Society Organisations

မြန်မာနိုင်ငံအရပ်ဘက်လူမှုအဖွဲ့အစည်းများမှ ဩစတြေးလျနိုင်ငံ နိုင်ငံခြားရေးဝန်ကြီး Penny Wong ထံသို့ အိတ်ဖွင့်ပေးစာ

By 688 Myanmar, Regional and International Civil Society Organisations

Southeast Asian MPs urge ASEAN economic ministers to immediately tackle food crisis

By ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights

Myanmar: Communities in north Shan State face conflicts new and old

By International Committee of the Red Cross

Myanmar: Raising awareness of landmine risks, minimizing threat to lives

By International Committee of the Red Cross

At least 13 Villagers Killed in Escalating Attacks in Karen State: Urgent International Response Needed

By International Karen Organisation

Petronas, PTTEP, ENEOS, Mitsubishi Corp & Japan Gov irresponsibly exiting Yetagun gas project

By Justice For Myanmar

Kirin Holdings’ irresponsible exit will continue its complicity in Myanmar military’s atrocity crimes

By Justice For Myanmar

မုံရွာမြို့တွင်ဖြစ်ပွားခဲ့သော ဖြစ်စဥ်နှင့် ပတ်သက်၍ သဘောထားထုတ်ပြန်ခြင်း

By LGBT Alliance – Myanmar

Burma/Myanmar – France is concerned about the military regime’s decision to transfer Ms Aung San Suu Kyi to prison (27 Jun. 2022)

By Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs

ASEAN Chair Special Envoy Urges Return of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi To Home

By Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia

National Unity Government Statement (15/2022)

By National Unity Government

National Unity Government Statement (14/2022)

By National Unity Government

United Nations Human Rights Council 50th session: ITEM 4 – Oral update report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Human Rights)

Statement of NUG on 7th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Forum

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Myanmar: Crisis taking an enormous toll on children, UN committee warns

By Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Activist accuses military of seeking to erase Myanmar’s Rohingyas

By Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

NCA-S EAOs’ Meeting with ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar

By Peace Process Steering Team

Open letter: Myanmar junta participation in the Environmental Rights and Climate Change Workshop

By Working Group on Independent National Human Rights Institutions for Burma/Myanmar

အိတ်ဖွင့်ပေးစာ – သဘာဝပတ်ဝန်းကျင်နှင့် ရာသီဥတုပြောင်းလဲမှုဆိုင်ရာ အလုပ်ရုံဆွေးနွေးပွဲတွင် မြန်မာစစ်အုပ်စုမှ ပါဝင်တက်ရောက်ခဲ့သည့်ကိစ္စ

By Working Group on Independent National Human Rights Institutions for Burma/Myanmar



Assessment of simplified approaches to treatment of wasting/ acute malnutrition in Myanmar: current status and opportunities for Rakhine state

By Crown Agents, Humanitarian Assistance and Resilience Programme

Myanmar: Response overview, June 2022

By Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

One Week of Attacks: Burma Army Pushes More Than 4,800 People Into Hiding

By Free Burma Rangers

MMC Asia 4Mi Snapshot – Journeys to Indonesia for Rohingya refugees: Routes, risks, assistance and needs (June 2022)

By Mixed Migration Centre

The Border Consortium 2021 Annual Report

By The Border Consortium

Myanmar Landmine/ERW Incidents Information – Factsheet (January-May 2022)

By United Nations Children’s Fund

UNICEF Myanmar Humanitarian Situation Report No. 5: 1 to 30 June 2022

By United Nations Children’s Fund

Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 19 | 28 June 2022

By United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Progressive Voice is a participatory, rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 transitioning to a rights-based policy research and advocacy organization called Progressive Voice. For further information, please see our press release “Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice.”