BURMA: Letter to Secretary Blinken on Airstrike That Killed More Than 80 People in Burma’s Kachin State

Re: Open letter from 288 diaspora, community organizations, and NGOs calling for concrete U.S. action in response to recent airstrikes in Kachin State and other parts of Burma.


Dear Secretary Blinken and Counselor Chollet,

The October 23rd bombing of a music festival in Burma’s Kachin State has demonstrated once again that Burma’s military junta remains unbound by international law and undeterred from its campaign of unfettered violence that has resulted in repeated atrocities against the people of Burma. Hundreds of civilians gathered in Hpakant that Sunday for an evening of festivities as Kachin musicians celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Kachin Independence Organization. This celebration became the target of a horrific attack in which at least 80 people were killed, including the Kachin singer performing on stage, after multiple fighter jets dropped bombs on the peaceful gathering. The junta is reportedly refusing to allow medical personnel to bring the wounded to nearby hospitals for treatment, with reports of individuals dying from lack of urgent care – another affront that shows how little the junta cares for civilian lives.

Though this attack was exceedingly horrific, it is far from an isolated incident. Airstrikes are a core component of the junta’s efforts to supplement its increasingly isolated ground forces with a direct campaign against Burmese civilians. Burma’s National Unity Government estimates that the junta has launched over 200 airstrikes since the start of the coup, killing hundreds, destroying dozens of homes, and terrorizing civilians across the country.

In total, post-coup violence has displaced over 1,000,000 people while the junta has reportedly killed over 2,300 civilians. The junta continues to escalate its indiscriminate attacks on and deliberate targeting of civilians, confident that the international community is too divided and distracted to push back meaningfully against junta’s violent excesses.

It is imperative that the international community end this sense of impunity and demonstrate that committing atrocities does have meaningful costs. The United States must respond to this violence with concrete and decisive action. Condemnations are appreciated, but insufficient as a response to horrors of this magnitude.

For months, activists in Burma have called for international action that would reduce the junta’s capacity to commit atrocities, deny the junta access to funding, and begin to hold the military accountable for its crimes. In spite of the clarity of these asks from Burmese political leaders in the National Unity Government, Burmese humanitarian and civil society organizations, and the international advocacy community, US policy has failed to meet the demands of the current moment.

We, the undersigned community organizations, NGOs, and those working to promote justice, accountability, and human rights in Burma call on President Biden and his administration to decisively take the following actions:

1. Restrict junta access to funding: Prevent the junta from receiving the revenues that fund its war of oppression against the people of Burma. Immediately place sanctions on the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise and the Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank, the main business entities responsible for supplying the junta with foreign currency.

2. Restrict junta access to jet fuel: Without jet fuel, the junta cannot conduct airstrikes or transport soldiers to remote villages to terrorize local populations. Place sanctions on all companies involved in the provision of jet fuel to Burma’s military and work with international partners, and in particular Singapore, to control the shipment of jet fuel into Burma.

3. Restrict junta access to arms: The US should push for the tabling of a UN Security Council Resolution that would place a comprehensive and coordinated arms embargo on the junta. The US should also directly sanction companies involved in the supply of arms and dual-use technologies to the junta.

4. Address junta impunity: Join the Rohingya case at the International Court of Justice and commit to further supporting investigations into junta atrocities at other international fora. In addition to these immediate actions we urge the Biden Administration to continue to increase its political and material support to opponents of the junta, especially the National Unity Government (NUG), the National Unity Consultative Council, and representatives of the Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs). The US should urge ASEAN to engage directly with the NUG and EROs, including by accepting representatives from the NUG as Burma’s representative at ASEAN meetings and forums.

The US should also work with partners to ensure that humanitarian aid is provided in a way that does not grant legitimacy to the junta, including by providing aid through the NUG and Burmese humanitarian organizations that are unaffiliated with the junta.

The military junta continues to escalate its campaign of depraved violence even as the people of Burma risk their lives to oppose the junta’s brutality and expose its crimes. The people of Burma deserve your full support, and failure to act will simply encourage the junta to continue escalating its attacks on civilians. The US response must rise to meet the moment.


1. Action Against Military Coup

2. Action Against Myanmar Military Coup Sydney

3. Albany karen Community

4. All Burma IT Students’ Union

5. All Burma Student Democratic Front (ABSDF) – Australia Branch, NSW

6. All Young Burmese League (AYBL), NSW

7. American Baptist Churches USA

8. American for Rohingya

9. American Kachin Community (Portland and Vancouver)

10. Anti-Myanmar Dictatorship Movement, VIC

11. Anti-Myanmar Military Dictatorship Network, VIC

12. Arakan Rohingya Union

13. Arizona Kachin Community

14. Association Suisse Birmanie

15. Associazione per l’Amicizia Italia Birmania

16. Aung San Suu Kyi Park Norway

17. Australia Burma Friendship Association, NT

18. Australian Burmese Muslim Organisation, VIC

19. Australian Chin Community (E. Melbourne Inc), VIC

20. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO) ACT Chapter

21. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO) Queensland

22. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO) WA Chapter

23. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO), NSW

24. Bamar Community Tasmania, TAS

25. Baptist World Alliance

26. Bay Area Kachin Community

27. BMT Counselling, WA

28. Burma Advocacy Group

29. Burma Lawyer Council (BLC), NSW

30. Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC), QLD

31. Burma Task Force

32. Burman Suomalaiset Finland

33. Burmese American Community Institute (BACI)

34. Burmese Community – South Australia, SA

35. Burmese Community Development Collaboration, NSW

36. Burmese Community Support Group, NSW

37. Burmese Medical Association Australia, NSW

38. Burmese Welfare Association of Victoria, VIC

39. Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)

40. California Kachin Community

41. Campaign for a New Myanmar

42. Cantors Assembly

43. Chin Association of Maryland, Inc

44. Chin Baptist Association of North America

45. Chin Community – South Australia, SA

46. Chin Community in Norway

47. Chin Community of Western Australia Inc., WA

48. Chin Community Tasmania, TAS

49. Chin Leaders of Tomorrow

50. Chin Youth Organization, WA

51. Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention

52. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland

53. Dallas Kachin Community

54. DEEKU, the Karenni Community of TX

55. Democratic Party for a New Society, Norway

56. EarthRights International

57. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization

58. Emgage Action

59. Falam Community – South Australia, SA

60. Florida Kachin Community

61. Fortify Rights

62. Free Myanmar Inc

63. Friends of Rohingya USA

64. Georgia Kachin Community

65. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

66. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy

67. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution

68. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution Japan

69. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution Korea

70. Global Witness

71. Helping Hands Burma

72. Houston Kachin Community

73. Industrial Training Centre (ITC) Family Sydney, NSW

74. Institute for Asian Democracy

75. Institute of Chin Affairs, WA

76. International Association, Myanmar Switzerland

77. International Campaign for the Rohingya

78. International Karen Organisation

79. Iowa Kachin Community

80. Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

81. Japan Myanmar Help Network

82. Jewish Rohingya Justice Network

83. Justice for Myanmar, Hope and Peace, NSW

84. K’cho Ethnic Association

85. Kachin Alliance

86. Kachin American Community (Portland-Vancouver)

87. Kachin Association Australia, NSW

88. Kachin Association Norway

89. Kachin Association of Australia WA Inc., WA

90. Kachin Baptist Churches USA

91. Kachin Community of Indiana

92. Kachin Community of USA

93. Kachin Cultural and Literature Association

94. Kansas Karenni Community, KS

95. Karen American Association of Wisconsin

96. Karen Association of Huron, SD

97. Karen Baptist Churches USA

98. Karen Community – South Australia, SA

99. Karen Community of Akron, OH

100. Karen Community of Austin, Texas

101. Karen Community of Canada (KCC)

102. Karen Community of Czech Republic

103. Karen Community of Finland

104. Karen Community of Hamilton

105. Karen Community of Iowa, IA

106. Karen Community of Ireland

107. Karen Community of Israel

108. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO

109. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo

110. Karen Community of Leamington

111. Karen Community of Lethbridge

112. Karen Community of London

113. Karen Community of Louisville, KY

114. Karen Community of Minnesota

115. Karen Community of North Carolina

116. Karen Community of Ottawa

117. Karen Community of Regina

118. Karen Community of Saskatoon

119. Karen Community of Syracuse, NY

120. Karen Community of Thunderbay

121. Karen Community of Toronto

122. Karen Community of Windsor

123. Karen Community of Winnipeg

124. Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)

125. Karen Organization of America

126. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL

127. Karen Society of Buffalo

128. Karen Society of Nebraska

129. Karen Thai Group

130. Karen Youth Education Pathways

131. Karen Youth Networks

132. Karen Youth of Norway

133. Karen Youth of Toronto

134. Karen Youth Organization

135. Karenni Association – Norway

136. Karenni Baptist Convention of America

137. Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX

138. Karenni Community of Arizona

139. Karenni Community of Arkansas

140. Karenni Community of Austin, TX

141. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY

142. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY

143. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL

144. Karenni Community of Colorado

145. Karenni Community of Connecticut

146. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX

147. Karenni community of Des Moines, IA

148. Karenni Community of Florida

149. Karenni Community of Fort Wayne, IN

150. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX

151. Karenni Community of Georgia

152. Karenni Community of Grand Rapid, MI

153. Karenni Community of Houston, TX

154. Karenni Community of Idaho

155. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN

156. Karenni Community of Lansing, MI

157. Karenni Community of Lousiville, KY

158. Karenni Community of Massachusetts

159. Karenni community of Minnesota

160. Karenni Community of Missouri

161. Karenni Community of New Jersey

162. Karenni Community of North Carolina

163. Karenni Community of Portland, OR

164. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL

165. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX

166. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD

167. Karenni Community of Utah

168. Karenni Community of Utica, NY

169. Karenni Community of Washington

170. Karenni Community of Wisconsin

171. Karenni Community, VIC

172. Karenni Society Finland

173. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE

174. Karenni Youth of Minnesota, MN

175. Karenni-American Association

176. Karenni-American Catholic Association

177. Karenni/Kayah Community, WA

178. Kayahlilaykloe, Austin, MN

179. Kayin Community Tasmania, TAS

180. Kentucky Kachin Community

181. Korea Karen Organization

182. Korea Karen Youth Organization

183. L’chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty

184. Louisiana Kachin Community

185. Maryland Kachin Community

186. Matu Burma Foundation

187. Matu Chin Community – NSW

188. Matu Chin Community – South Australia, SA

189. Me Boun Foundation

190. Michigan Kachin Community

191. Mindat Chin Community, NSW

192. Mindat Community – South Australia, SA

193. Minnesota Kachin Community

194. Mizo Community – South Australia, SA

195. Mizo Society of America (MSA)

196. Mon Families Group, VIC

197. Mon National Council (MNC), ACT

198. Mon National Council (MNC), NSW

199. Myanmar Action Group Denmark

200. Myanmar Baptist Churches in Norway

201. Myanmar Baptist Churches USA (MBC,USA)

202. Myanmar Campaign Network

203. Myanmar Catholic Community In Norway

204. Myanmar Community Coffs Harbour (MCC), NSW

205. Myanmar Community in Norway

206. Myanmar Democracy and Peace Committee, VIC

207. Myanmar Democratic Movement (MDM), WA

208. Myanmar Diaspora Group Finland

209. Myanmar Engineering Association of Australia

210. Myanmar Hindu Community – Norway

211. Myanmar Muslim Organization – Norway

212. Myanmar Professionals Association Australia, NSW

213. Myanmar Refugee Policy Group

214. Myanmar Solidarity Platform

215. Myanmar Students’ Association Australia, NSW

216. Myanmar Students’ Association Australia, QLD

217. Never Again Coalition

218. New York City Burmese Community

219. New York Kachin Community

220. NLD Organization Committee (Int’l) Norway

221. NLD Solidarity Association (Australia), QLD

222. NLD Solidarity Association (Australia), VIC

223. NLD Solidarity Association (NSW chapter), NSW

224. No Business with Genocide

225. North Carolina Kachin Community

226. Norway Falam Community

227. Norway Matu Community

228. Norway Rvwang Community

229. NSW Karenni (Kayah) Communities, NSW

230. Omaha Kachin Community

231. Oversea Karen Organization Japan

232. Overseas Burmese Christian Fellowship (Allston)

233. Patriotic War Veterans of Burma (PWVB), QLD

234. Peace and Justice Committee of Chin Baptist Churches USA

235. Pennsylvania Kachin Community

236. Perth Myanmar Youth Network, WA

237. Pyit Taing Htaung Social Club, WA

238. Queensland Kachin Community (QKC), QLD

239. Queensland Myanmar Youth Collective, QLD

240. Queensland Rohingya Community, QLD

241. Red Campaign Nirvana Exhortation Group, WA

242. Remonya Association of WA (Mon Community)

243. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

244. Rochester Karenni Community, NY

245. Rohingya American Society, Milwaukee, WI, USA

246. Rohingya Community in Norway

247. Rohingya Cultural Center of Chicago, IL, USA

248. Rohingya Society of Greater Nashua, NH, USA

249. Rohingya Student Network

250. Rohingya Student Unity Rights

251. Save Myanmar San Francisco

252. Save Myanmar USA

253. Shwe Youth Democratic Alliance (SYDA), VIC

254. Society for Humanistic Judaism

255. Sons and Daughters of Khmer

256. South Carolina Kachin Community

257. STAND

258. Students for a Free Burma

259. Sydney Friends for Myanmar Unity, NSW

260. Tennessee Kachin Community

261. The New York Board of Rabbis

262. The Sentry

263. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

264. United States Campaign for Burma

265. United States Chin Coalition

266. Utica Karen Community

267. Victoria Myanmar Muslim Community Inc., VIC

268. Victorian Myanmar Youth (VMY), VIC

269. Virginia Kachin Community

270. Washington Kachin Community

271. We Are One (Oregon)

272. We Pledge CDM (Australia), NSW

273. West Virginia Kachin Community

274. Western Australia Myanmar Community, WA

275. Western Australia Myanmar Democracy Network

276. Women Activists Myanmar

277. World Rohingya Organization, Jackson Height, NY

278. Youth for democratization of Myanmar (UDM)

279. Zo Christian Church of Logansport.

280. Zo Community – South Australia, SA

281. Zo National Fundraising Committee (ZNFC)

282. Zomi Association Australia Inc., NSW

283. Zomi Association Australia Inc., VIC

284. Zomi Christian Fellowship of Norway

285. Zomi Community – South Australia, SA

286. Zomi Community Norway

287. Zomi Community Queensland, QLD

288. Zomi Unnkuan Portland, Oregon

Photo Caption: Rohingya woman fled from the Myanmar military’s operations in Rakhine state to cross the border into Bangladesh in October 2017. Photo Credit: Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.