For the Myanmar Junta, Peace Means War

January 21st, 2023  •  Author:   Progressive Voice  •  7 minute read
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Given that in the past few months, violations of neighbouring countries’ airspace, including causing the Thai Airforce to scramble its own fighter jets and temporarily close a school in June last year, as well as shells landing in India from the recent bombing of the CNF base, are a clear threat to regional stability. This lies well within the mandate of the UNSC. 

Despite announcing a one year ceasefire, the Myanmar junta continues to use heavy weaponry and aerial firepower in a failing attempt to bomb the Myanmar people into submission. And while the resistance remains resolute, international governments must step up and sanction aviation fuel so as to make it harder for the junta to wage their campaign of violence and destruction.

The junta announced a nationwide ceasefire on 1st January but its aerial bombing in all corners of the country demonstrates how such utterances are nothing more than a “skyful of lies“. The junta has bombed the headquarters of the Chin National Front (CNF) – Camp Victoria on the border with India – twice in the past week, killing five people and destroying several buildings, including a clinic. One bomb landed over the border with India. People in the nearby town of Hakha protested in a ‘silent strike,’ refusing to open their shops in the town while the CNF itself remained defiant. A spokesperson, acknowledging the imbalance in firepower, particularly aerial capabilities, told Myanmar Now, “It doesn’t matter what strategy or technology the military council uses to attack us. The people are always on our side, and that is the driving force for us.”

The CNF headquarters was not the only location where the Myanmar junta has dropped bombs from the sky since its ‘ceasefire’ announcement at the start of 2023. On 12 January, four fighter jets conducted an airstrike in Hpapun District, northern Karen State, killing five people including a two-year-old child according to documentation by the Karen Human Rights Group. The bombs also destroyed 10 houses, a church, and damaged a school. The junta had also launched airstrikes on the 4th and 5th of January in Dooplaya District, Karen State, injuring two 16-year-old twin sisters and an elderly man. Airstrikes were also launched against Kachin Independence Army bases in Sagaing Region and Kachin State on the 9th of January.

According to the NUG, 460 people have died because of the aerial bombing of the military junta since the coup attempt nearly two years ago. This includes the killing of more than 80 people attending a concert near Hpakant, Kachin State in November last year. As the KNU spokesperson, Padoh Saw Taw Nee, stated in response to the bombing in Hpapun, “The junta’s military council continues to target civilian areas and religious sites and has practically admitted to committing war crimes.”

However, the international response to such atrocities has been ineffectual. The UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution passed at the end of 2022 was weak, not actionable, and crucially, did not include any language related to an arms embargo or the sanctioning of aviation fuel. Given that in the past few months, violations of neighbouring countries’ airspace, including causing the Thai Airforce to scramble its own fighter jets and temporarily close a school in June last year, as well as shells landing in India from the recent bombing of the CNF base, are a clear threat to regional stability. This lies well within the mandate of the UNSC. Yet with no effective Resolution forthcoming, it is up to individual countries to make greater efforts to prevent the supply of aviation fuel to the junta as well as attempt to coordinate a global arms embargo.

In addition to aviation fuel, a recent report by the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar presents how domestic arms manufacturing is dependent on imports of raw materials, parts and components, software programs and computer hardware from companies domiciled in Austria, China, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the US. The recent imposition of sanctions by Canada on the Asia Sun Group, a partner of the Myanmar military that procures and supplies the jet fuel used to launch these airstrikes is a welcome move that other countries must follow, including the materials and parts that are used to manufacture small arms. Quite simply, by making it harder for the junta to purchase and fuel their attack helicopters, fighter jets and other weapons, the more lives will be protected on the ground.


[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

Urgent Statement on the Extrajudicial Murder and Brutal Crackdown in Pathein Prison

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners

India: Close Airspace to Myanmar Junta Air Force

Fortify Rights

ထုတ်ပြန်ချက်အမှတ် (၁/၂၀၂၃)

Interim Chin National Consultative Council

Assets of Min Aung Hlaing’s children caught in Thai drug raid

Justice For Myanmar

JFM calls on Israel’s Attorney General to take urgent action following application for criminal investigation into Cognyte’s business in Myanmar

Justice For Myanmar

More Burmese Military War Crimes as Airstrikes Kill and Injure Children in Karen State

Karen Women Organization

Statement on the events relating to the bombing of Chin National Front’s Headquarters at Camp Victoria

National Unity Government of Myanmar

Statement regarding the violent torture in Pathein prison

National Unity Government (Ministry of Human Rights)

အကြမ်းဖက်စစ်ကောင်စီ၏ တရားမဝင်အတုအယောင်ရွေးကောက်ပွဲတွင် ပူးပေါင်းပါဝင်ခြင်း မပြုရန် ကြေညာခြင်း

National Unity Government (Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration)

Statement on the Establishment of the Office of Special Envoy

National Unity Government (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

နှစ် (၆၀) ပြည့် တအောင်းအမျိုးသားတော်လှန်ရေးနေ့သို့ ပေးပို့သောဂုဏ်ပြုသဝဏ်လွှာ

National Unity Government (Ministry of Defence)

Statement on the 60th anniversary of Ta’ang National Revolution Day

Palaung State Liberation Front

Letter of Felicitation to 60th Ta’ang Revolutionary Day

Ta’ang Political Consultative Council



Coup Watch December 2022 – Security Council fails to deliver real action as Humanitarian Needs explode

ALTSEAN-Burma ,  Asia Democracy Network ,  Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development ,  Burma Human Rights Network ,  Initiatives for International Dialogue ,  International Federation for Human Rights ,  Progressive Voice ,  US Campaign for Burma ,  Women’s Peace Network

World Report 2023 – Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

Protracted displacement, local economies and protection: communities and ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar

Humanitarian Practice Network

Min Aung Hlaing’s family assets caught in Thai drug raid

Justice For Myanmar

Does The Military Misuse Peace Talks For The Perpetuation Of Dictatorship?

Myanmar Peace Monitor

Military Council’s Increased Airstrikes – Issue 87

Myanmar Peace Monitor

Myanmar Military air strikes at Camp Victoria

Myanmar Witness

Following a fire trail

Myanmar Witness

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.”