December 17, 2021, Myanmar: The Myanmar military has commissioned aircraft manufactured in France, Russia and China, during a ceremony held on Wednesday to mark the 74th anniversary of the Myanmar Air Force.
Aircraft include an ATR-72 600, an Airbus Eurocopter, a Y-12, Yak-130s and K-8s.
ATR-72 600s are manufactured in France by ATR, a French-based joint venture between Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo Corporation.
Eurocopters are also manufactured in France by Airbus. Airbus’ corporate headquarters are in the Netherlands.
The aircraft were commissioned by EU sanctioned war criminal and junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as the Myanmar military intensifies its terror campaign following the February brutal and illegal coup attempt. In recent weeks, the junta has carried out indiscriminate airstrikes in Kachin and Shan states and the Sagaing and Magwe regions, killing civilians, destroying property and causing mass displacement. Earlier air raids had also targeted Chin, Karen and Karenni states. These attacks amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Data from ACLED, analysed by Altsean Burma, shows a 632% increase in armed clashes and attacks compared to 2020. Between February 1 and November 26, Myanmar had more armed clashes and attacks than both Yemen and Afghanistan.
The European Union has an arms embargo on Myanmar with a ban on the transfer of dual use goods, although the Myanmar military has a history of bypassing arms controls through their network of private brokers and crony-run airlines.
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “The French, Dutch and Italian governments must immediately investigate how ATR and Airbus aircraft got into the hands of the terrorist Myanmar military junta. These aircraft will be used by the military to attack civilians and kill children. The fact that the military continues to procure aircraft must be a wakeup call for the European Union, which has not imposed new sanctions on Myanmar since June. That contrasts with the US, UK and Canada, which have targeted entities related to military procurement in the latest round of sanctions. France has a particular responsibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and should be leading the push for a global arms embargo on Myanmar. It is unacceptable that the junta is still able to procure European aircraft after the 2017 genocide against the Rohingya, their illegal coup attempt and continued acts of terrorism.”
In addition to European aircraft, the Myanmar military has commissioned K-8 trainer jets, Yak-130 fighter jets and a Y-12 military transport plane.
K-8s and Y-12s are manufactured by subsidiaries of the Chinese state-owned company AVIC. K-8s are produced by AVIC’s Hong Kong listed subsidiary AviChina Industry and Technology Co. Ltd, connecting AviChina investors to AVIC’s complicity in the Myanmar military’s atrocities.
AviChina’s biggest investors include Airbus, Vanguard Group, BlackRock, Dimensional Fund Advisors and the sovereign wealth funds of Australia, New Zealand and Norway.
Yak-130s are manufactured in Russia by the majority state-owned United Aircraft Corporation.
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “China and Russia are aiding and abetting the junta’s war crimes and crimes against humanity by selling aircraft, profiting from the murder of Myanmar people. The fact that two UN Security Council permanent members with veto power are arming the terrorist military junta explains why the UN’s highest body has utterly failed to take meaningful action on Myanmar. The international community must take action against Russia and China’s complicity in the Myanmar military’s atrocity crimes.
It is alarming that sovereign wealth funds and major international corporations continue to invest in AVIC, despite clear evidence of their complicity in the Myanmar military’s war crimes and crimes against humanity. We demand that shareholders of AVIC immediately divest to end their link to the Myanmar military’s crimes. International partners and suppliers of AVIC and United Aircraft Corporation also have a responsibility to prevent human rights impacts linked to their business relationships. We call on them to cut ties with AVIC and United Aircraft Corporation immediately.”
Note to editors
Justice For Myanmar, a group of covert activists campaigning for justice and accountability for the people of Myanmar, is calling for an end to military business and for federal democracy and a sustainable peace.
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