Progressive Voice Calls for Complete Ban on Selling Aviation Fuel to Myanmar

April 2nd, 2024  •  Author:   Mizzima  •  5 minute read
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April 2, 2024

Progressive Voice and the people of Myanmar are calling on the international community to end the junta’s access to aviation fuel as it is powering increasingly frequent deadly, devastating airstrikes.

Myanmar’s people are urging the international community, particularly the UN Security Council (UNSC) and ASEAN, to put a complete end to the junta’s access to aviation fuel.

Progressive Voice believes that If the world truly wants to see peace and stability in Myanmar, the UNSC and ASEAN—along with the wider international community—must fulfill their responsibility to protect civilians in Myanmar and coordinate to impose and enforce a comprehensive embargo on aviation fuel imported into Myanmar.

Progressive Voice says that without a doubt, the military junta’s deadly airstrikes are enabled by the global supply of aviation fuel to Myanmar, to which the junta has great access and which it eagerly diverts to bomb civilians.

Between February 2021 and December 2023, the junta conducted at least 1,652 airstrikes—killing 936 civilians and injuring 878—with attacks increasing exponentially at the end of 2023.

Today, the military junta continues its deadly airstrikes against civilians across the country unabated. In January and February 2024, the junta conducted 293 aerial attacks on southern Shan State, with no signs of stopping.

On 22 March, the junta bombed a hospital in Bi Kin Lar Ei Village, Pekhon Township, southern Shan State, killing two people. The same day, junta airstrikes destroyed five houses and a clinic in Nang Tok Village, Pinlaung Township, also in southern Shan State.

In Rakhine State, during the first three weeks of March alone, the junta killed more than 70 civilians and injured more than 100 through aerial and artillery attacks across seven townships, with some communities suffering daily airstrikes.

Furthermore, in recent weeks, at least 38 Rohingya civilians have been killed by junta airstrikes in Rakhine State.

On 18 March, junta airstrikes on Thar Dar Village, Minbya Township, killed 22 Rohingya civilians, and injured at least 30 others. On 9 February, junta forces bombed Ambari Village, Kyauktaw Township, killing

four Rohingya civilians and injuring 25. Two days later, junta airstrikes on Paik Thei Village, Kyauktaw Township, killed 12 Rohingya civilians and injured 16.

These attacks clearly fit the military’s decades-long pattern of targeting the Rohingya and continue its campaign of genocide against them. In response to the junta’s ongoing atrocity crimes, Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, stated, “We urgently need coordinated international action to effectively sanction the sale of aviation fuel to the military and stop these airstrikes on civilians.”

Progressive Voice says that it is clear that the few uncoordinated sanctions imposed on aviation fuel suppliers—in 2023 by Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and in 2024 by Australia—have ultimately failed to stop the military junta, with 2023 marking a new high for its airstrikes.

Amnesty International’s research shows that to evade existing sanctions, the military junta appears to be using new tactics to facilitate aviation fuel imports, such as purchasing and reselling the same fuel multiple times and obfuscating the fuel’s origin by relying on storage units.

To push for effective action against the junta’s airstrikes, Blood Money Campaign (BMC), a Myanmar campaign group, launched its Global Campaign with people across the country and the world urging the international community—particularly the UK , the US, and the European Union—to ban aviation fuel imports into Myanmar, including the entire supply chain.

During the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Khin Ohmar, the Chairperson of Progressive Voice, on behalf of FORUM-ASIA, made clear that there is no excuse not to heed the people’s calls: “It is a misconception that aviation fuel is used to transport humanitarian aid including children’s vaccines in Myanmar. In reality, it only fuels more airstrikes.”

Rather than make excuses, Progressive Voice says that the international community must stop enabling the military junta’s killing of civilians, including countless children, and immediately take concerted, coordinated action to halt all sales, transfers, and diversions of aviation fuel to Myanmar.

These actions must involve a comprehensive embargo on aviation fuel directed to Myanmar, including coordinated and targeted sanctions against all nodes of the fuel supply chain enabling the junta’s war crimes. Well-coordinated enforcement of already-imposed sanctions on aviation fuel is also urgently needed to ensure that it is kept out of the junta’s hands.

At the same time, concrete steps must be taken to end the military junta’s blanket impunity and its ongoing countrywide terror campaign against the people, according to Progressive Voice.

In this vein, the International Criminal Court should urgently accept the National Unity Government’s July 2021 declaration accepting the Court’s jurisdiction to begin the process of investigating international crimes committed in Myanmar since the Rome Statute entered into force in July 2002.

Progressive Voice says that the grim reality is that the military junta’s airstrikes against civilians will continue unless and until the world finally assumes its responsibility to ban aviation fuel imports into Myanmar.

Likewise, the junta’s terror campaign against the people will end only when the military is held accountable under international law. In the words of BMC to the international community, “Listen to us, the people of Myanmar!! We are calling for banning jet fuel exports to Myanmar military… Supplies of aviation fuel reaching the military enable these war crimes. [International governments] must stop it now.

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