The Karen grassroots delegation had a productive meeting today with Mr. Speaker John Bercow of the UK House of Commons, who visited the Karen refugee camp on the Thai border in 2004 and is a strong supporter of Burma.
Speaker John Bercow is shown with Zoya Phan, Burma Campaign UK’s Campaigns Manager, Naw Wah Ku Shee from Karen Peace Support Network and Naw Hsa Moo from Karen Environmental and Social Action Network.
Local residents along the Namtu (or Myitnge) River in northern Shan State are urging all foreign companies involved in dam projects on the river to follow the decision of Engie, the French company that pulled out of the Upper Yeywa Dam project.
Engie was removed from Burma Campaign UK’s “Dirty List” of companies linked to human rights violations in Burma after confirming that their subsidiary—the Germany company Lahmeyer—was no longer involved in the Upper Yeywa Dam project.
Local communities in northern Shan State are greatly encouraged that French company Engie has pulled out of the Upper Yeywa dam project, and are urging all other foreign companies involved in dams on the Namtu/Myitnge river to follow suit.
Engie was removed from Burma Campaign UK’s “Dirty List” of companies linked to human rights violations in Burma, after confirming that their subsidiary, the German company Lahmeyer, was no longer involved in the Upper Yeywa dam project.
Two representatives from Karen grassroots communities are in the UK for a lobbying trip, calling for the British government to prioritise human rights, increase aid for refugees and internally displaced people, press for the end of the Burmese military offensive and support a peace process that guarantees rights and equality for the Karen and all ethnics in Burma.
Naw Wah Ku Shee from Karen Peace Support Network and Naw Hsa Moo from Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, with members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma, after speaking to an APPG meeting.
The French multinational energy company Engie has pulled out of the controversial Upper Yeywa dam project in Shan State, reports Malaysia’s news website the Star Online. Engie had been included on Burma Campaign UK’s “Dirty List” of 49 companies linked to human rights violations and environmental destruction in Myanmar.
Burma Campaign UK has now removed Engie from the “Dirty List”.
Burma Campaign UK has submitted evidence to Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry into the future of UK sanctions, which is looking at options for the UK’s approach to sanctions policy after leaving the EU.
In its evidence BCUK argued for the UK government to impose targeted sanctions on the Burmese military and to keep them in place until the conditions for lifting them are met. Where international consensus cannot be reached, there can still be value in the British government acting alone and/or publicly stating what should be done.
Japanese brewer Kirin has tightened its donations policy and will facilitate a human rights impact assessment on its operations after an Amnesty International report revealed it donated money to the Burmese military or Tatmadaw. As a result of the donations, Kirin has been listed in Burma Campaign UK’s “Dirty List”.
‘‘This isn’t a question of Kirin changing the way it behaves in Myanmar. The problem is that their business partner is accused of genocide by the United Nations. There is no responsible way that Kirin can operate in Myanmar as long as it is doing business with the military,” said Mark Farmaner, Burma Campaign UK director.
The Tatmadaw has acquired civilian aircraft made by European companies despite a tightening of the arms embargo in response to alleged atrocities in Rakhine State, reports Frontier Myanmar. The aircraft were produced by France’s Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said that European countries had previously adopted different stances on their companies doing business with the military. “Sentiment is finally shifting. Stricter interpretation of EU sanctions by member states combined with growing awareness of the reputational risk will result in reduced sales of equipment to the military. Burma Campaign UK proposed that rather that tightening the arms embargo, the EU simply ban the sale of any equipment at all to the military. This was discussed as an option and it is significant that the EU rejected this proposal.”
Burma Campaign UK published its ‘Dirty List’ in early December 2018, slamming 49 international companies accused of “operating in Myanmar in such a way that contributes to human rights violations and environmental destruction.”
Mark Farmaner, the Director of Burma Campaign UK, argues “companies which supply equipment to the military or do business with the military, are complicit in the human rights violations committed by them”, reports Karen News.
Burma Campaign UK named Facebook as one of 49 companies on a ‘dirty list’, for allowing the incitement of hatred and violence of minorities, in particular the Rohingya Muslim minority and Muslims in general, reports the American business magazine Forbes.
“Although it has belatedly closed down accounts run by the Burmese military, it continues to host the page of the Information Committee, run from Aung San Suu Kyi’s office,” says Burma Campaign UK, which will continue to press for more accounts to be removed.