Myanmar still getting jet fuel despite calls to cut supply: rights group

Junta airstrikes have increased five-fold this year, UN rights official said
By RFA Staff
Myanmar still getting jet fuel despite calls to cut supply: rights group A Myanmar military helicopter carries the national flag over a parade to mark Independence Day in the capital, Naypyidaw, on Jan. 4, 2023.

Shipments of aviation fuel are reaching Myanmar despite calls to deprive its military of the resources needed to carry out unlawful air strikes against insurgents battling to end army rule, international human rights group Amnesty International said on Monday.

The London-based group announced on Jan. 30 its researchers had documented new ways that the junta was skirting sanctions with aviation fuel shipped directly from Vietnam to Myanmar at least seven times in 2023.

The group said the pattern had continued with at least two and probably three shipments of aviation fuel reaching Myanmar between January and June.

“As with the previous shipments identified by Amnesty International in January, the fuel was bought and sold multiple times before reaching the last leg of its trip in Vietnam ahead of shipment to Myanmar,” the group said in a report.


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Myanmar has been in bloody turmoil since the military ousted an elected government in early 2021, ending a decade of tentative reforms.

Democracy activists have taken up arms and linked up with autonomy-seeking ethnic minority insurgents, and together they have made significant advances against junta forces in several parts of the country this year.

But the insurgents have few effective weapons with which to defend themselves against air attacks.

The U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar said last month that military airstrikes against civilian targets had increased five-fold in the first half of this year even though the United States and Britain announced sanctions against companies that import jet fuel to the junta in August last year. 

Amnesty International said that in two instances this year a Chinese-owned oil tanker transported jet fuel from Vietnam to Myanmar and fuel traders based in Singapore appeared to have played a role in the supply chain.

“Like the 2023 shipments, the 2024 shipments involved multiple purchases and resales of the same fuel, making it hard to trace the original supplier,” the rights group added.

“The Myanmar military is relying on the very same Chinese vessel and Vietnamese companies to import its aviation fuel, despite Amnesty International having already exposed that reckless supply chain,” said Agnes Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International.

“It is a raw display of both the sheer impunity with which the Myanmar military is operating, and the utter complicity of the states responsible, including Vietnam, China and Singapore.”

Radio Free Asia was not able to contact Myanmar’s junta spokesman for comment. The junta has said it does not intentionally target civilians.

Edited by Taejun Kang and Mike Firn.


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