Amnesty International call for veto on Myanmar aviation fuel deliveries to halt civilian bombings

Aviation fuel suppliers have been asked to suspend their shipments to Myanmar- after a rise in the number of military air strikes on civilian targets.

Anmesty International hope to prevent the country's air force from using the fuel to carry out their strikes.

It documented diversion of aviation fuel supposed to only be used for civilian travel and transport to the military.

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It also called on refiners, shipping companies and others in the aviation fuel supply chain to stop shipments until they can ensure they will not be diverted to military use.

The report, in collaboration with the underground activist organisation Justice For Myanmar, follows news of air strikes that have killed dozens of people not engaged in fighting the military-controlled government following the army's February 2021 ousting of Myanmar's elected government.

"These air strikes have devastated families, terrorised civilians, killed and maimed victims. But if the planes can't fuel up, they can't fly out and wreak havoc. Today we are calling on suppliers, shipping agents, vessel owners and maritime insurers to withdraw from a supply chain that is benefiting the Myanmar Air Force," Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard said in a prepared statement.

"There can be no justification for participating in the supply of aviation fuel to a military that has a flagrant contempt for human rights and has been repeatedly accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and other grave human rights violations."

Military air strikes killed as many as 80 people, including singers and musicians, at an anniversary celebration last month of the Kachin ethnic minority's main political organisation. The casualties appeared to be the most in a single air attack since the military seized power.

Civilians from the Karen ethnic minority in eastern Myanmar were also killed in air attacks earlier this year.

Ethnic minorities have been fighting for autonomy for decades, but nationwide anti-government resistance has increased markedly with the formation of an armed pro-democracy movement opposing the military takeover.

Air attacks on schools, villages and camps of people who have fled the fighting have destroyed homes, schools, monasteries and other civilian infrastructure. The military says such attacks are needed to fight "terrorist" groups.

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Human rights advocates have been lobbying governments to impose arms embargoes and cut off supplies of fuel that might be diverted for military purposes. Opponents of such measures say blocking aviation fuel supplies would interfere with civilian travel and deliveries of humanitarian aid.

The Amnesty report outlined examples of how fuel delivered to Myanmar's Thilawa port, near its biggest city Yangon, was diverted to military use despite pledges that it was only to be used by civilian aircraft.

It said at least eight shipments of Jet A-1 fuel were unloaded at Thilawa between February 2021 and September 17 of this year. In some cases, letters documented that the shipments were due for use by military aircraft. In others, civilian and military aircraft were supplied by the same storage facilities.

Singapore-based Puma Energy, the company handling most aviation fuel supplies to Myanmar, suspended its business there after the military takeover, leaving operations to its local partner. Last month, it announced it would sell its share of the business to a locally owned company.

ctions on individuals, military entities, financial institutions and energy companies, what is needed is "co-ordinated action".

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