Statement by Women’s League of Burma and Burma Campaign UK
The Women’s League of Burma and Burma Campaign UK send condolences to the family and friends of all those who were killed by Burmese military airstrikes in Kachin State on the evening of 23rd October.
As around a thousand people attended a music festival to celebrate the founding of the Kachin Independence Organisation, the Burmese military sent jets to bomb the audience.
Initial reports are that at least 80 people have been killed. More than 100 were seriously injured. When they tried to reach hospitals for treatment, they were blocked by the Burmese military at Ginsi village and turned back.
Three Burmese military jets attacked the music festival, which featured famous Kachin artists such as Aurai and Galau Yaw Lwi. The festival was celebrating the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Kachin Independence Organisation.
Over the past four days, the Burmese military has also been carrying out airstrikes at Kawkereik, Karen State, with reports of two people killed and ten injured, including six children.
Since the attempted coup began on 1st February last year, more than a million people have been forced to flee their homes because of attacks by the Burmese military. A large proportion of these people were forced to flee because of airstrikes, or because the threat of airstrikes means it is unsafe to return home. This has created a humanitarian crisis.
Women’s League of Burma and Burma Campaign UK call on the international community:
- To immediately impose aviation fuel sanctions on Burma. Limiting the Burmese military’s access to aviation fuel will reduce its ability to carry out airstrikes and kill civilians;
- Enact targeted sanctions against the Burmese military and its proxies to effectively cut off financial flows;
- Institute a comprehensive global arms embargo, with robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, to end the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons and other equipment that may be used for training, intelligence and military assistance;
- Refer the situation on human rights in Burma to the International Criminal Court for their crimes against humanity, which have been perpetrated against innocent civilians, including peaceful protests and ethnic groups.
The Burmese military are deliberately and indiscriminately targeting civilians with airstrikes as part of their campaign to attempt to terrorise the people of Burma into submission. This is a war crime and a crime against humanity.
We have repeatedly called for action to cut the supply of revenue, arms and equipment to the Burmese military. The failure to do so has meant that the Burmese military are still able to carry out airstrikes like the one in Kachin State yesterday.
“Every day ethnic communities are the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity. We are witnessing daily atrocity crimes perpetrated by the same military junta that has already committed genocide. The international community needs to start enforcing international laws and rules with regard to Burma. Decisive action is needed to uphold international law, to preserve international peace and security and to fulfil mandates contained in Resolution 1674 regarding the protection of civilians,” said Nang Moet Moet, Joint General Secretary (1) of Women’s League of Burma.
“The British government, EU and USA have decided that trying to stop airstrikes like this is not a priority, and have failed to act on calls for aviation fuel sanctions. They can and must do more. Imposing sanctions to stop the supply of aviation fuel to the Burmese military is the single most effective action that can be taken to address the humanitarian crisis caused by airstrikes against civilians,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK.