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Amnesty: Fuel Suppliers Help Myanmar Attack Civilians


BANGKOK — Amnesty International is urging kerosene suppliers in Myanmar to suspend their deliveries to prevent the military from using them to carry out an increasing number of aerial attacks against civilian targets.

In a report released on Thursday, the London-based rights group documented the diversion of aviation fuel which is believed to be used only for civilian travel and transport to the military. He also called on refiners, shipping lines and other players in the aviation fuel supply chain to halt shipments until they can ensure they will not be diverted for purposes. military.

The report, produced in conjunction with underground activist organization Justice for Myanmar, follows news of airstrikes that killed dozens of civilians not engaged in the fight against the army-controlled government after it was toppled by the army in February 2021 of an elected government.

“These airstrikes have devastated families, terrorized civilians, killed and maimed victims. But if planes can’t refuel, they can’t fly away and wreak havoc. Today, we call on suppliers, shipping agents, shipowners and marine insurers to withdraw from a supply chain that benefits the Myanmar Air Force,” said Secretary General of Myanmar. Amnesty International, Agnès Callamard, in a press release.

“There can be no justification for participating in the supply of aviation fuel to an army which has a blatant disregard for human rights and has been repeatedly accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious violations of human rights.”

Military airstrikes have killed up to 80 people, including singers and musicians, who attended an anniversary celebration last month for the main political organization of the Kachin ethnic minority. Casualties appeared to be the highest in a single air attack since the army took over.

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

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

Air attacks on schools, villages and camps of people who fled the fighting destroyed homes, schools, monasteries and other civilian infrastructure. The army says such attacks are necessary to fight “terrorist” groups.

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

Amnesty International’s report gave examples of how fuel delivered to Myanmar’s Thilawa port, near its largest city, Yangon, was diverted to military use despite promises it was not to be used than by civilian aircraft.

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

Most of the companies that Amnesty International has urged to embargo fuel shipments responded to the group’s request for comment saying they had controls in place to prevent the supply of fuel to the military.

Singapore-based Puma Energy Co., the company that handles most aviation fuel supplies to Myanmar, suspended operations there after the military takeover, leaving operations to its local partner. Last month he announced he would sell his share of the business to a local company.

In a letter to Amnesty International included in its report, Puma said the details provided by the rights group helped its review of its investment in Myanmar, which “ultimately led to the decision to leave Myanmar”. A Puma spokesman, Matt Willey, noted in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday that even before being contacted by Amnesty International, the company had commissioned an independent rights impact assessment. human beings whose recommendations also led to the decision to leave Myanmar altogether. Giant Trafigura.

Puma said it had not sold or distributed fuel to the Myanmar Air Force since the military takeover and had controls in place to prevent such sales, but learned of incidents in which the Air Force had successfully breached these controls.

Amnesty International said its report “draws on a wide range of sources, including leaked company documents, company documents, ship tracking data, satellite imagery, public records and interviews. exclusive with Myanmar Air Force defectors and sources close to Puma Energy. ”

In September, a UN-appointed human rights expert called on governments and corporations to coordinate their efforts to cut off the military-led government from its sources of revenue and weapons, saying life in this Southeast Asian country has become a “living hell” for many since the generals took power.

Tom Andrews, in Geneva to deliver an annual report on Myanmar to the UN Human Rights Council, told reporters that while many countries have imposed sanctions on individuals, military entities, financial institutions and energy companies, what is needed is ‘coordinated action’.

ABC

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