Open letter to UK Foreign Secretary: Sanction all companies involved in supplying aviation fuel to Myanmar


Open letter to UK Foreign Secretary: Sanction all companies involved in supplying aviation fuel to Myanmar

The Honorable James Cleverly
Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
King Charles Street
United Kingdom

9 December 2022

Open letter to UK Foreign Secretary: Sanction all companies involved in supplying aviation fuel to Myanmar

Dear Minister,

To mark International Human Rights Day and in solidarity with the Myanmar people who bravely continue to defend their rights and democracy against the Myanmar military junta, we, the 516 undersigned Myanmar, regional and international organizations, call on the Government of the United Kingdom (UK Government) to immediately take action to ensure no British companies is involved, directly or indirectly, in the supply of aviation fuel to the Myanmar military junta. We further call for your decisive, stronger actions to end the Myanmar military’s onslaught of horrendous crimes.

The illegal coup attempt launched by the Myanmar military in February 2021 has led to gross human rights violations nationwide, and caused an unprecedented human rights and humanitarian crisis. Terrorizing attacks by the junta, most notably airstrikes, have taken more than 2,500 lives and displaced over 1.2 million people, with exact numbers are expected to be much higher. Civilians have been consistently targeted and under constant threat of aerial attacks, including in schoolsmedical facilitiesreligious sites and people fleeing for their lives.

The junta’s intensified aerial attacks have been enabled by aviation fuel, supplied and brokered by foreign companies. The supply chain of aviation fuel from foreign ports have direct links to war crimes being committed daily by the junta. We note that British companies have provided insurance services to vessels delivering aviation fuel to Myanmar. As long as the supply chain is allowed to continue, the junta’s atrocities will take more lives and exacerbate the massive displacement. The junta’s countless war crimes and crimes against humanity have been permitted to rage on for the past 22 months. It is time the international community issued a complete ban of arms flow to cut its supply to this international criminal entity.

The UK Government’s commitment to values of democracy and human rights must be reflected in your responses in effective and meaningful actions to address the deepening catastrophes in Myanmar. We note the UK Government’s previous actions in support of the Myanmar people’s efforts to end this illegal attempted coup to protect the rights of the Myanmar people, including sanctions on war criminals and junta-linked businesses, and support for the opening of a National Unity Government’s office in your country who legitimately represents the Myanmar people. We further welcome the UK Government’s delayed support for The Gambia case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. However, more decisive, practical actions are urgently needed to end ongoing aerial attacks and atrocities in Myanmar. Your government’s pledge to address the conflict-related gender violence must also prioritize women and girls in Myanmar’s plight.

We earnestly appeal to you to immediately sanction Burmese companies and state-owned enterprises involved in the supply of aviation fuel to the junta. We further call on the UK Government to impose an immediate ban on British companies involved in any aspect of aviation fuel supply to Myanmar. It is essential that the UK Government ensure sanctions on the delivery of aviation fuel to Myanmar which covers the provision of services such as insurance, accreditation and verification services to vessels and infrastructure used to supply aviation fuel to Myanmar. As the Myanmar military has previously seized commercial-grade aviation fuel from suppliers, we believe that a complete ban on supplying aviation fuel to Myanmar is essential.

We welcome the role the UK Government has played in seeking the coordination of the implementation of sanctions to date. We request you seek allies such as Australia, Canada, the United States and the European Union to join you in sanctioning aviation fuel supplies to Myanmar. As Myanmar civil society, we are aware that such sanctions on aviation fuel could impact commercial domestic flights. However, we believe that the humanitarian benefit of reducing atrocious airstrikes far outweigh any inconvenience caused by sanctioning fuel supplies.

Lastly, we entrust the UK Government to pass a UN Security Council resolution which places a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar. The resolution must cover all weapons, munitions and equipment, as well as military training and assistance.

As the people of Myanmar sacrifice their livelihood and future for a federal democratic Myanmar which upholds human rights and equality for all, the UK Government must utilize all tools at your disposal to stop atrocities committed by the illegal military junta on a daily basis and protect the lives of Myanmar civilians.

For more information, please contact:

Signed by 516 Myanmar, regional and international organizations including 312 organizations who have chosen to not disclose their name.

Click here for the full list of signatories.

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ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) was founded in June 2013 with the objective of promoting democracy and human rights across Southeast Asia. Our founding members include many of the region's most progressive Members of Parliament (MPs), with a proven track record of human rights advocacy work.

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