Statement 163 Views

Open Letter to ASEAN Leaders and the Dialogue Partners

August 31st, 2023  •  Author:   149 Organizations  •  9 minute read
Featured image

RE: ASEAN members and their dialogue partners are urged to end Burma/Myanmar military’s access to jet fuel and weapons ahead of ASEAN summit

Your excellencies,

We, the undersigned 149 organizations, are writing to urge prompt, coordinated actions of governments of ASEAN and ASEAN dialogue partners to bring an end to the ongoing atrocities perpetrated daily by the Burmese military.

It has been more than two years since the illegal military coup deposed Burma’s democratically-elected leaders. In that time, ASEAN and its partner governments, including the EU, US, Japan, South Korea and Australia, have failed to take sufficient actions to hold the military to account, implement the “Five Point Consensus,” and end the violence.

From September 5-7, your government will participate in the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta. We urge you to work with all government representatives present at the Summit to deliver the following:

1. A joint call from ASEAN and ASEAN dialogue partners calling for the United Nations Security Council to demonstrate their support of ASEAN, the Five-Point Consensus, and the people of Burma by keeping the situation in Burma on the agenda and introducing resolution that calls for regular meetings and an arms embargo, including a ban on aviation fuel.

2. A joint release from ASEAN governments announcing: a commitment to preventing the junta from procuring aviation fuel. This includes:

  • Classifying aviation fuel as a “dual-use technology” under applicable local laws;
  • Banning the shipment or transshipment of aviation fuel through ports in ASEAN member states;
  • Banning companies located in ASEAN member-states from selling or transporting aviation fuel to any entity in Myanmar; and
  • Banning the provision of financial services, such as maritime shipping insurance, to companies or vessels transporting aviation fuel to Burma.

3. A joint commitment from ASEAN members to further restrict the military junta’s access to funding and the international banking system. U.S. sanctions on the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank have given ASEAN members legal cover to prevent their banks from transmitting money to the junta. ASEAN members should work with their domestic monetary authorities to ensure that domiciled banks are not making or processing payments to the junta and its affiliated entities.

The junta is using aerial attacks to target civilian-populated areas, including IDPs hiding places, and initiate conflict with local ethnic groups. In the first four months of 2023, there were 442 airstrikes. This nearly eclipses the total number of airstrikes conducted in all of 2022, which was 449.

On July 27, two schools in Karenni State were damaged due to airstrikes, with many villagers emphasizing the intentionality behind the attacks: “When they [the military] can’t establish the educational and administrative systems they want, they resort to attacking schools, hindering Karenni children from learning.” Children from Karen state have been forced to seek refuge in the seven refugee camps that line the Thai-Burma border after military attacks increased the number of school-aged refugees from 16,000 to 21,000 in just one year.

In Kachin state, military planes drop bombs in villages, killing civilians. Civilians in Shan state were killed after the military bombed villages believed to be hiding local soldiers, an accusation later disproved. In late July, over 3,000 civilians were forcibly displaced from central Burma’s Sagaing region over the span of five days of military fighting.

As the civilian death toll rises and the number of refugees and internally displaced peoples increases, it is impossible to deny that access to jet fuel is critical to support the military’s campaign of violence.

Yet governments have failed to act and companies continue to facilitate the military’s access to jet fuel. In November 2022, Amnesty International’s report, Deadly Cargo, linked jet fuel access to increasing human rights abuses; but only months later, Global Witness and Amnesty International revealed the names of several companies, including, but not limited to, Thai, Indian, and Japanese, that were still engaging in the shipment of jet fuel to the Burmese junta in March 2023. The engagement of these companies makes them complicit in the human rights abuses committed by the Burmese junta via aerial attacks throughout the country.

The United States and United Kingdom have both placed sanctions on Burmese and Singaporean entities accused of facilitating the trade in aviation fuel, while the U.S. has issued a regulatory determination threatening further sanctions against companies involved in the sale of aviation fuel into Burma. We strongly encourage ASEAN member-states to support these sanctions and work with international partners to end the trade of aviation fuel in Burma.

ASEAN, the UN, and other governments have failed the people of Burma for far too long. The country is in desperate need of support beyond arbitrary condemnations. We urge you to stand on the right side of history and act with urgency to hold the military accountable for its crimes and bring Burma the peace and justice the people of Burma deserve.

Sincerely,

Signed by:

  1. Ah Nah Podcast – Conversations with Myanmar, Ireland
  2. ALTSEAN-Burma, Thailand
  3. American Baptist Churches, KS, USA
  4. American Baptist Churches, OH, USA
  5. Arizona Kachin Community, AZ, USA
  6. Australian Karen Organisation Inc
  7. Bangladesh Rohingya Student Union (BRSU)
  8. Better Burma, CA, USA
  9. Burma Action Ireland
  10. Burma Advocacy Group, USA
  11. Burma Campaign UK
  12. Burma Canadian Association of Ontario
  13. Burma Task Force, IL, USA
  14. Burmese American Community Institute, IN, USA
  15. Burmese Women’s Union (BWU), Thailand
  16. California Kachin Community, CA, USA
  17. Calvary Burmese Church, Washington, DC
  18. Campaign for a New Myanmar, Washington, DC, USA
  19. Chin Association of Maryland, Inc. MD, USA
  20. Chin Baptist Association, MD, USA
  21. Community Rebuilding Centre, Bangladesh
  22. Coordination Team for Emergency Relief (Karenni), Burma
  23. Crane Center for Prevention of Mass Atrocities, CA, USA
  24. CRPH Funding Ireland
  25. Dallas Kachin Community, TX, USA
  26. DEEKU-Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX, USA
  27. Det Norsk Baptistsamfunn, Norway
  28. DFW Kachin Baptist Church, TX
  29. EarthRights International, Washington, DC, USA
  30. European Karen Network, Norway
  31. Florida Kachin Community, FL, USA
  32. Free Burma Campaign South Africa
  33. Georgia Kachin Community, GA, USA
  34. Give A Helping Hand, Norway
  35. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, NY, USA
  36. Houston Kachin Community, TX, USA
  37. Human Rights Foundation of Monland, Burma
  38. Humanity Institute, Burma
  39. Institute for Asian Democracy, Washington, DC. USA
  40. International Campaign for the Rohingya, Washington, DC, USA
  41. International Karen Organization, PA, USA
  42. Iowa Kachin Community, IA, USA
  43. Jewish World Watch, CA, USA
  44. Justice For All, Washington, DC. USA
  45. K’Nyaw Baptist Church, MN
  46. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)
  47. Kachin Baptist Churches, MD, USA
  48. Kachin Community of Indiana, IN, USA
  49. Kachin Community of USA
  50. Kachin Contextual Analysis Team, Burma
  51. Kachin refugee committee, Malaysia
  52. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
  53. Kansas Karenni community, KS, USA
  54. Karen American Association of Wisconsin, WI, USA
  55. Karen Association of Huron, SD, USA
  56. Karen Baptist Church, CO
  57. Karen Community of Canada
  58. Karen Community in Norway
  59. Karen Community of Akron, OH, USA
  60. Karen Community of Georgia, GA, USA
  61. Karen Community of Greensboro, NC, USA
  62. Karen Community of Iowa, IA, USA
  63. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO, USA
  64. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN, USA
  65. Karen Human Rights Group, Burma
  66. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL, USA
  67. Karen Peace Support Network, Thailand
  68. Karen Women’s Organization (KWO), Thailand
  69. Karen Youth Education Pathways, Washington, DC, USA
  70. Karen Youth Network, Burma
  71. Karenni Community of Arizona, AZ, USA
  72. Karenni Community of Arkensas, AK, USA
  73. Karenni Community of Austin, TX, USA
  74. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY, USA
  75. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY, USA
  76. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL, USA
  77. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO, USA
  78. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX, USA
  79. Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA, USA
  80. Karenni Community of Florida, FL, USA
  81. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX, USA
  82. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA, USA
  83. Karenni Community of Houston, TX, USA
  84. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID, USA
  85. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN, USA
  86. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA, USA
  87. Karenni Community of Michigan, MI, USA
  88. Karenni community of Minnesota, MN, USA
  89. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO, USA
  90. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC, USA
  91. Karenni Community of Portland, OR, USA
  92. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL, USA
  93. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX, USA
  94. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD, USA
  95. Karenni Community of Utah, UT, USA
  96. Karenni Community of Utica, NY, USA
  97. Karenni Community of Washington, WA, USA
  98. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI, USA
  99. Karenni Human Rights Group, Burma
  100. Karenni National Women’s Organization (KNWO), Thailand
  101. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE, USA
  102. Karenni-American Association, USA, USA
  103. Kayan Women’s Organization (KyWO), Burma
  104. Kentucky Kachin Community, KY, USA
  105. Kuki Women’s Human Rights Organization (KWHRO), Burma
  106. L’chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty
  107. Lahu Women’s Organization (LWO)
  108. Louisiana Kachin Community, LA, USA
  109. Maryland Kachin Community, MD, USA
  110. Michigan Kachin Community, MI, USA
  111. Milwaukee Myanmar Christian Church, WI, USA
  112. Mingalarama Wiharra Monastery, MD, USA
  113. Minnesota Kachin Community, MN, USA
  114. Myanmar Campaign Network, Australia
  115. Myanmar Christian Church of Metro Chicago, IL, USA
  116. Never Again Coalition, OR, USA
  117. New York Kachin Community, NY, USA
  118. No Business With Genocide, Washington, DC, USA
  119. North Carolina Kachin Community, NA, USA
  120. NUG and CRPH Supporters Ireland
  121. Omaha Kachin Community, NE, USA
  122. Overseas Burmese Christian Fellowship, MA
  123. Pa-O Women’s Union (PWU), Burma
  124. Peace and Justice Committee, KY, USA
  125. Pennsylvania Kachin Community, PA, USA
  126. Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
  127. Rohingya Action Ireland
  128. Rohingya Students Network, Bangladesh
  129. Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), Thailand
  130. South Carolina Kachin Community, SC, USA
  131. Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO), Burma
  132. Tavoy Women’s Union (TWU)
  133. Temple Beth Tikvah, Roswell, GA
  134. Temple Habonim, Barrington, RI
  135. Tennessee Kachin Community, TN, USA
  136. U.S. Campaign for Burma, Washington, DC, USA
  137. Unitarian Universalist Association, NY, USA
  138. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, MA, USA
  139. Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation, WI, USA
  140. United States Chin Coalition, IN, USA
  141. UU College of Social Justice, MA, USA
  142. UU Mass Action, MA, USA
  143. UU Society of Oneonta NY, USA
  144. Virginia Kachin Community, VA, USA
  145. Washington Kachin Community, WA, USA
  146. West Virginia Kachin Community, WV, USA
  147. Women for Justice (WJ), Burma
  148. Women’s League of Burma, Thailand
  149. Women’s Peace Network, Washington, DC. USA

Download PDF.