Burma Campaign UK today publishes its new ‘Dirty List’ of international companies linked to the military in Burma, or companies whose operations are linked to human rights violations or environmental destruction.
Companies named and shamed on the list include Western Union, Tata, Toshiba and Facebook. The Belgian technology company Newtec, which is providing services to Mytel, part-owned by the Burmese military, has threatened legal action against Burma Campaign UK if we name them on the list.
A total of 49 companies are initially being added to the ‘Dirty List’. Companies from China, Russia, UK, France, Norway, Japan, Ukraine, USA, Thailand and Vietnam are included on the list.
The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar has concluded that Burma’s military leaders should be prosecuted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
They stated: “The actions of the Tatmadaw in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States, in particular in the context of the “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017, have so seriously violated international law that any engagement in any form with the Tatmadaw, its current leadership, and its businesses, is indefensible.”
The military has wide ranging business interests in Burma, which help it to fund its operations. In the main this is through two conglomerates Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEH) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC). There is little transparency about the business interests of the military.
The European Union and governments around the world have decided not to impose targeted sanctions against military owned and controlled companies, instead allowing companies to continue to do business with them. In publishing this list we hope that in addition to pressuring companies to stop doing business with the military, it will also draw more attention to the need for greater pressure on the military by the international community. To date, the main response of the international community to genocide in Burma has been to impose a ban on a small number of military personnel going on holiday to certain countries.
This new ‘Dirty List’ is by no means comprehensive. It will be regularly updated with new companies added. We welcome information about companies which should be added to the ‘Dirty List’.
The military in Burma are guilty of genocide. They are responsible for the vast majority of human rights violations in the country, they are blocking democratic reforms, waging war against ethnic groups and obstructing the peace process.
“Companies which supply equipment to the military, or do business with the military, are complicit in the human rights violations committed by them,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “We are not saying don’t do business in Burma, we are saying don’t do business with the military,” said Mark Farmaner.