Burma Campaign UK today welcomed notification received from Portia Management Services that they have no plans to renew or extend their contract managing a military-owned port in Yangon. The current contract expires in 2021.
Liverpool based Portia manages the TMT Port in Yangon through a contract with KT Group, a Burmese conglomerate which appears to have close ties to the military. Burmese media organisation Myanmar Now revealed the military earn $3million a year from leasing the port to KT Group, with the amount reviewed every five years.
In a letter dated 23rd July, Portia told Burma Campaign UK: “I can confirm that Portia’s current contract with the KT Group will be completed in 2021 and at the present time we have no plans to extend or renew our contract.”
Portia will be removed from Burma Campaign UK’s ‘Dirty List’ of companies linked to the military and to human rights violations in Burma once the contract has come to an end. More than 100 companies are named on the ‘Dirty List’.
An official United Nations investigation called on countries to impose sanctions to stop international companies doing any form of business with the Burmese military. So far the British government is refusing to implement this recommendation
“This decision by Portia is very welcome,” said Mark Farmaner, Director at Burma Campaign UK. “They have done the right thing and deserve praise for doing so.”
The decision by Portia follows a decision earlier this year by Western Union to stop using a military-owned bank as one of its agents. Human rights activists in Burma have also launched a campaign, Justice for Myanmar, calling on companies to cut their ties to Burmese military companies. Japanese conglomerate Kirin is reviewing its two joint venture breweries with the Burmese military following pressure from campaigners.
In the coming year Burma Campaign UK will be stepping up its campaigns against companies helping to fund the Burmese military.