Responding to reports of deadly air strikes in Sagaing Region’s Kanbulu Township, Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Researcher Montse Ferrer said:
“Initial reports on deadly air strikes in Sagaing Region are horrifying. Unlawful air attacks killing and injuring civilians and destroying homes are a trademark of the Myanmar military, which goes to despicable lengths to crush resistance and instill fear in the population. Myanmar’s civilians bear the brunt of these sickening tactics.
“The relentless air attacks across Myanmar highlight the urgent need to suspend the import of aviation fuel. Amnesty reiterates its calls on all states and businesses to stop shipments that may end up in the hands of the Myanmar Air Force. This supply chain fuels violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, and it must be disrupted in order to save lives.
“While some meaningful action has been taken, the international community can and must do more to stop attacks on civilians in Myanmar. These air strikes come just ahead of the two-year anniversary of ASEAN’s five-point consensus on Myanmar, which has utterly failed to stop the military’s atrocities.
“Instead of taking a back seat, ASEAN must step up and play a leading role in resolving the human rights catastrophe in Myanmar. The United Nations Security Council must find ways to push through effective actions to hold the Myanmar military accountable, including by referring the situation in the country to the International Criminal Court.”
On the morning of 11 April, Myanmar’s military carried out air strikes on a village in Kanbulu township, Sagaing Region, according to initial reports and social media footage. An unknown number of people, including children, are believed to have been killed in the attack. Amnesty International has not been able to independently verify the details.
Since the coup on 1 February 2021, Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations, including war crimes and possible crimes against humanity as part of the military’s crackdown on the opposition across the country.
In November 2022, Amnesty International launched a campaign calling for a suspension of the supply of aviation fuel to prevent the Myanmar military from carrying out unlawful air strikes. The investigation also identified companies involved across the supply chain.
On the eve of the two-year anniversary of the military coup of 1 February 2021, several countries imposed further sanctions on Myanmar, this time focusing on the aviation fuel industry.
Canada’s government moved to prohibit the export, sale, supply or shipment of aviation fuel to the Myanmar military. The UK also announced sanctions targeting two Myanmar companies and two individuals that Amnesty International first identified in Deadly Cargo: Exposing the supply chain that fuels war crimes in Myanmar as playing an essential role in importing, handling and transporting aviation fuel to the Myanmar military’s air force.
In March 2023, the UK announced a second round of sanctions targeting individuals and companies exposed in Amnesty International’s latest research on aviation fuel supply to Myanmar.
The European Union and the US have also announced sanctions targeting various individuals and entities that played a role in the importation, storage and distribution of aviation fuel to the Myanmar military.