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Joint Letter from 228 Organizations to President Biden Calling for Sanctions on Companies Supplying the Burmese Military with Aviation Fuel

June 27th, 2024  •  Author:   228 Organizations  •  11 minute read
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President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 200500

Dear President Biden,

We, the undersigned 228 organizations, including the ethnic and religious minorities of Burma, are deeply concerned by the upswing in aerial attacks carried out by the Burmese junta since the start of the coup. These airstrikes target heavily populated areas, taking the lives of civilians, and completely destroying crucial public infrastructure, including hospitals and schools. We urge you to take and coordinate action immediately and implement harsher sanctions that will effectively hold the military junta accountable for this blatant violation of international law and cut off its fuel and weaponry supply.

Since the start of the coup in 2021 until now, the Burmese junta has carried out at least 1,427 airstrikes across Burma, killing over 434 civilians. Countrywide data on reported airstrikes reveal the junta’s increasing reliance on aerial strikes over time. In 2023, the International Institute for Strategic Studies found that the military conducted, on average, at least 49 airstrikes monthly. This was 25% higher than 2022 when the military conducted at least 39 average monthly aerial attacks. Airstrikes are expected to double this year, unless immediate action is taken. These aerial attacks occur in civilian spaces, even when there are no resistance groups present, nor fighting occurring. 

Organizations have been sounding the alarm since 2022, when the military intentionally bombed an outdoor concert in October, killing over 80 civilians. The limited action from the U.S. and the international community has only encouraged more aggressive attacks to continue over the years, resulting in mass destruction and suffering. Around the same time in 2023, the military attacked an IDP camp, killing 28 civilians, including 11 children. This year, in February 2024, the junta went as far as to conduct airstrikes on schools, taking the lives of children and teachers. 

We appreciate that after receiving a letter from organizations urging the ban on jet fuel last year, the U.S. has taken some actions in targeting the junta’s access to jet fuel, including sanctions on part of the Asia Sun Group business network that was importing fuel into Burma. However, these sanctions have been limited and more is needed. The U.S. has yet to make extensive use of the regulatory determination it used last August emphasizing that selling aviation fuel to Burma was a sanctionable offense. 

 Additionally, this year, the UN adopted a resolution for states to refrain from supporting aviation fuel trade and sale. As a responsible member state, the U.S. must only further demonstrate unwavering commitment and strict adherence to this resolution. This involves placing comprehensive aviation fuel sanctions, which only Canada has accomplished at the moment. The U.S. however can demonstrate its own leadership in this matter and fulfill its international obligations by participating in a complete aviation fuel embargo.

To prevent these devastating attacks, it is imperative that the United States further lead coordinated action within the international community to cut off the junta’s ability to purchase aviation fuel and supplies. A recent report from the UN Special Rapporteur showed that the junta’s imports of aviation fuel increased in 2023, including fuel imported through Asia Sun network. More must be done. Targeted sanctions must have harsher penalties and stronger enforcement. Otherwise, these international allies will continue to sell and transport aviation fuel to the junta which will be used to target and kill civilians.

We recognize and thank you for the actions you have taken thus far to support the people of Burma. However, as organizations that have connections, indirect and direct, with those on the ground in Burma, we know that the United States needs to do more. Please regard the junta’s  aerial attack as a devastating warning of what is to come for the people of Burma should the military continue to have unchecked access to fuel and other supplies. The United States holds the power and influence to create change – please ensure that this power is not wasted.

We ask for the specific actions below: 

  1. 1. Sanction international companies that sell aviation fuel supplies to the military junta. While smaller Burmese entities can be easily replaced, major international entities would face severe repercussions and serious obstacles to their ability to supply the military.

  2. 2. Bar any entity from providing shipping insurance, transport, storage facilities, or other shipping services to companies selling aviation fuel to the military, its allies or affiliated companies. The most effective way of disrupting the flow of aviation fuel is to prevent ships from picking up cargo or accessing ports by withholding insurance and services.

  3. 3. Impose full sanctions on the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), as the European Union has already done. Sanctions on MOGE itself, not just on MOGE officials, would cut off one of the junta’s largest revenue streams and have the greatest impact on stopping the junta’s campaign of lethal violence in the country.

  4. 4. Hold the Burmese junta accountable for their clear violations of international law and active war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, and mass atrocities. 

Also CC: Secretary Blinken, Counselor Chollet, and National Security Council

Sincerely,

Signatories: 

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1. 88 Generation, Thailand

2. Action Committee for Democracy Development, Burma

3. ASEAN Federation of Cardiology Council, Burma

4. Albany Karenni Community, NY, USA

5. ALTSEAN-Burma, Thailand

6. American Baptist Churches of Nebraska, NE, USA

7. American Jewish World Service, USA

8. Anti Dictatorship in Burma DMV-PA, USA

9. Arakan Institute for Peace and Human Rights, TX, USA

10. Arizona Kachin Community, AZ, USA

11. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters, Burma

12. Athan-Freedom of Expression Activist Organization, Burma

13. Australian Karen Organisation, Inc.-NSW Branch, Australia

14. Australian Karen Organistion Inc (National), Australia

15. Baptist World Alliance / Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, USA

16. Blood Money Campaign, Burma

17. Boston Free Burma, MA, USA

18. Burma Action Ireland

19. Burma Advocacy Group, NJ, USA

20. Burma Campaign UK

21. Burma Human Rights Network, UK

22. Burmese Canadian Network, Canada

23. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

24. California Kachin Community, CA, USA

25. Calvary Burmese Church, USA

26. Campaign for a New Myanmar, USA

27. Canada Burmese Community, Canada

28. CDM Support Group (India), IL, USA

29. Chin Association of Maryland, USA

30. Chin Baptist Association, North America

31. Chin Baptist Churches USA

32. Chin Community of USA, DC

33. Chindwin Medical and Humanitarian Network, Burma

34. Civil Disobedience Movement, Burma

35. Coalition of Burma Ethnic Malaysia, Malaysia

36. Cooperative University, Burma

37. Coordination Team for Emergency Relief (Karenni), Burma

38. Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention, IN, USA

39. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland

40. CRPH Funding Ireland

41. CRPH NUG Support Group NSW, Australia

42. CRPH Support Group, Norway

43. Dallas Kachin Community, TX, USA

44. DEEKU Community of Amarillo, TX, USA

45. Karenni Community of Texas, USA

46. Defend Myanmar Democracy, Burma

47. Democratic Youth Council, Burma

48. Department of Basic Education, Burma

49. DFW Kachin Baptist Church, TX, USA

50. Earth Rights International, USA

51. Educational Initiatives Prague, Czech Republic

52. European Karen Network, Europe

53. Florida Kachin Community, FL, USA

54. Free Burma Campaign, South Africa

55. Free Rohingya Coalition, Burma

56. Freedom and Labor Action Group, Burma

57. Future Light Center, Burma

58. Georgia Kachin Community, GA, USA

59. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, USA

60. Global Hope Myanmar, TN, USA

61. General Strike Committee of Nationalities, Burma

62. General Strike Coordination Body, Burma

63. Hope For Tomorrow, Inc., IN, USA

64. Houston Kachin Community, TX, USA

65. Human Rights Defenders Solidarity Network, Canada

66. Human Rights Foundation of Monland, Burma

67. Humanity Institute, Burma

68. India for Myanmar, Burma

69. Info Birmanie, France

70. Initiatives for International Dialogue, Philippines

71. Insight Myanmar Podcast, CO, USA

72. Institute for Asian Democracy, DC, USA

73. International Campaign for the Rohingya, USA

74. International Civil Society Action Network, DC, USA

75. International Karen Organization, Norway

76. Iowa Kachin Community, IA, USA

77. Kachin Alliance, DC, USA

78. Kachin American Community (Portland–Vancouver), USA

79. Kachin Baptist Churches, MD, USA

80. Kachin Community of Indiana, IN, USA

81. Kachin Community of USA

82. Kachin State Accountable and Governance, Burma

83. Kansas Karenni community, KS, USA

84. Karen American Association of Wisconsin, WI, USA

85. Karen Association of Huron, SD, USA

86. Karen Community Association UK

87. Karen Community in Norway

88. Karen Community of Akron, OH, USA

89. Karen Community of Canada

90. Karen Community of Iowa, IA, USA

91. KarenCommunity of Kansas City, KS & MO, USA

92. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN, USA

93. Karen Department of Health and Welfare, Thailand

94. Karen Human Rights Group, Burma

95. Karen Organization of America, USA

96. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL, USA

97. Karen Peace Support Network, Thailand/Burma

98. Karen Student Network Group, Thailand

99. Karen Welfare Association WA Inc., Australia

100. Karen Women’s Organization, Thailand

101. Karen Youth Education Pathways, USA

102. Karenni American Youth Association, USA

103. Karenni Americans Association, MN, USA

104. Karenni Baptist Convention of America, USA

105. Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX, USA

106. Karenni Community of Arizona, USA

107. Karenni Community of Arkansas, USA

108. Karenni Community of Austin, TX, USA

109. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY, USA

110. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY, USA

111. Karenni Community of Charlotte, NC

112. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL

113. Karenni Community of Colorado, USA

114. Karenni Community of Connecticut, USA

115. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX, USA

116. Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA, USA

117. Karenni Community of Florida, USA

118. Karenni Community of Fort Wayne, IN, USA

119. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX, USA

120. Karenni Community of Georgia, USA

121. Karenni Community of Grand Rapid, MI, USA

122. Karenni Community of Houston, TX, USA

123. Karenni Community of Idaho, USA

124. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN, USA

125. Karenni Community of Lansing, MI, USA

126. Karenni Community of Lousiville, KY, USA

127. Karenni Community of Marshalltown, IA, USA

128. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, USA

129. Karenni Community of Minnesota, USA

130. Karenni Community of Missouri, USA

131. Karenni Community of New Jersey, USA

132. Karenni Community of Owensboro, KY, USA

133. Karenni Community of Pennsylvania, USA

134. Karenni Community of Portland, OR, USA

135. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL, USA

136. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX, USA

137. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD, USA

138. Karenni Community of Utah, USA

139. Karenni Community of Utica, NY, USA

140. Karenni Community of Washington, USA

141. Karenni Community of Waterloo, IA, USA

142. Karenni Community of Wheaton, IL, USA

143. Karenni Community of Winston Salem, NC, USA

144. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, USA

145. Karenni Federation of Australia

146. Karenni Human Rights Group, Burma

147. Karenni National Women’s Organization, Burma

148. Karenni Society of Nebraska, USA

149. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE, USA

150. Karenni Youth of Minnesota, USA

151. Karenni-American Association, USA

152. Karenni-American Catholic Association, USA

153. Karenni-American Women Association, USA

154. Kayahlilaykloe, The Karenni Community of Austin, MN, USA

155. Kentucky Kachin Community, USA

156. Kuki Students’ Democratic Front, Burma

157. LASHIO UlC (University of Teachers’ Union), Burma

158. Living Dignity for the Blind, Burma

159. Louisiana Kachin Community, USA

160. Malaysia Karen Organisation, Malaysia

161. Maryland Kachin Community, USA

162. Matupi Community Development Organization, Burma

163. Mekong Watch, Japan

164. Metta Campaign, Burma

165. Michigan Kachin Community, USA

166. Ministry of Education-NUG, Burma

167. Ministry of Electricity and Energy-NUG, Burma

168. Minnesota Kachin Community, USA

169. Minnesota Peace Project, USA

170. Monolith p/L, Singapore

171. Myanma Railways (CDM), Burma

172. Myanmar Economic Bank (CDM), Burma

173. Myanmar Emergency Fund-Canada

174. Myanmar National Association of the Blind, Burma

175. MyaYar Knowledge Tree, Burma

176. National League for Democracy, Burma

177. National University of Arts and Culture, Burma

178. Network for Human Rights Documentation-Burma

179. Never Again Coalition, OR, USA

180. New York Kachin Community, NY, USA

181. No Business With Genocide, USA

182. Nonviolence International, DC, USA

183. North Carolina Kachin Community, NC, USA

184. Oakland Burmese Mission Baptist Church, CA, USA

185. Omaha Kachin Community, NE, USA

186. Pathfinder Institute Myanmar, Burma

187. Peace and Justice Committee, KY, USA

188. Pennsylvania Kachin Community, PA, USA

189. People Police (CDM), Burma

190. Progressive Voice

191. Resilient Action for Kachin State, Burma

192. Rochester Karenni Community, NY, USA

193. Rohingya American Society, WI, USA

194. Shan Women’s Action Network, Burma

195. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation, Burma

196. South Carolina Kachin Community, SC, USA

197. Spring University Myanmar, Italy

198. Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar, Netherlands

199. Ta’ang Women’s Organization, Burma

200. Technological Teachers’ Federation-TTF, Burma

201. Tennessee Kachin Community, TN, USA

202. The Sentry, USA

203. U.S. Campaign for Burma, USA

204. Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice, USA

205. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, USA

206. Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, USA

207. United Hands for Our Freedom, MD, USA

208. United States Chin Coalition, IN, USA

209. University of Computer Studies, Burma

210. University of Yangon, Burma

211. UU Ministry for Earth, CO, USA

212. Virginia Kachin Community, VA, USA

213. Washington Kachin Community, WA, USA

214. West Virginia Kachin Community, WV, USA

215. West Yangon Technological University, Burma

216. Women Advocacy Coalition Myanmar, Thailand

217. Women’s Peace Network, Burma

218. Yangon City Development Committee, Burma

219. Yangon Deaf Group, Burma

220. Yenanchaung People Defence Force, Burma

221. Zo Christian Association, USA

222. Zomi Christian Fellowship of Norway

223. Zotung Organization of America

224.နိုင်ငံရေးအကျဉ်းသားဟောင်းအဖွဲ့ မြင်းခြံ, Burma

225. ပညာရေး – Wetlet Township Board of Education, Burma

226. ပညာရေး ဝန်ကြီးဌာန, Burma

227.မြန်မာ့မီးရထား, Ayawaddy, Burma

228.ရေကြည်တပေါက်တော်လှန်ရေးအင်အားစုကူညီရေးအသင်း, Burma