Human rights advocates urge the EU to bolster U.S. efforts by taking similar steps and call on the U.S. to cut off oil and gas revenues. 

August 23, 2023, Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Treasury announced new sanctions targeting the Myanmar (Burma) military junta’s use of jet fuel to launch air strikes against civilians. The U.S. designated two individuals and three companies for sanctions and also announced a broader determination that allows sanctions to be imposed on anyone, including non-Burmese individuals and companies, operating in the jet fuel sector in the Burmese economy.

The United Kingdom has also started sanctioning Myanmar’s jet fuel industry. The EU has not yet joined these efforts.

EarthRights Director of Strategy and Campaigns Keith Slack issued the following statement:

“EarthRights praises the Biden administration’s action on Myanmar jet fuel and urges it to increase economic pressure on the junta until it returns the country to a democratic pathway. The United States should use sanctions to cut off the junta’s access to gas revenues via the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise. The United States should also continue working with its counterparts in Singapore to cut off the junta’s access to an estimated $4.5 billion in central bank reserves being held in Singapore accounts while accounting for humanitarian risks. The U.S. should build on these jet fuel actions and ban the provision of financial services – especially maritime shipping insurance — to companies and vessels transporting jet fuel into Myanmar. 

“EarthRights urges the European Union to step up its efforts to join the United States and United Kingdom in targeting these actors in the jet fuel sector. Evidence demonstrates that sanctions are most effective when they are multilateral. The international community must speak with a unified voice in condemning not only the junta but also the international actors who are enabling these atrocities to continue.”

“Since launching its bloody coup in February 2021, the Myanmar military has relentlessly committed atrocities in its quest for power while actively preventing humanitarian support from reaching people in need. To sustain its campaign of violence against the Myanmar people, the junta relies on international networks of suppliers, financiers, and facilitators – such as those who provide the junta with jet fuel that it uses in air strikes. Many of these actors belong to transnational criminal enterprises, but many are internationally recognized companies and banks that have chosen to look the other way and recklessly conduct business with the junta.

“The U.S. government’s latest sanctions focus on just a few of the actors involved in the Myanmar jet fuel industry, but the announcement sets the stage for broader action against jet fuel suppliers, as well as the insurance companies that enable these transactions.

“The announcement is the latest in a series of increasingly forceful actions that the U.S. government has taken in response to the military coup. In June, the U.S. sanctioned two Myanmar banks that are under the control of the junta and play a critical role in facilitating the junta’s access to foreign currency. The U.S. then issued a rare follow-up statement in August warning international banks to comply. The banking sanctions have reportedly caused significant disruptions to the junta.”


Kate Fried, EarthRights International
(202) 257.0057