Western Union Drops Military Myawaddy Bank As Its Agent
Western Union is the latest company to be removed from our ‘Dirty List’ following confirmation that they have stopped using the military-owned Myawaddy Bank as one of their agents in Burma.
They are the biggest company so far to cut their business ties to the military. This is a significant step forward in our campaign to stop international companies funding genocide and crimes against humanity in Burma.
We will be stepping up pressure on other companies on our ‘Dirty List’
Thank you to everyone who took part in the campaign.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, accused Aung San Suu Kyi of “barefaced lying” during her testimony and said her civilian government was guilty of genocide.
“Although she might be taking comfort that the country’s Buddhist majority is standing behind her on this case, she is actually polarising the country by letting other ethnic minority groups see her defend the crimes of the military that have persecuted them too,” said Mark Farmaner. He said Aung San Suu Kyi was leading the country “down a dangerous and tragic path”.
As Aung San Suu Kyi personally appeared at the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ highest court, to defend her country from charges of genocide, Time calls it a powerful reminder of how far the former human rights icon has fallen from grace in the eyes of the West.
“There was a time when Aung San Suu Kyi spoke with moral authority and the world would listen, but that time has long gone,” says Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK.
The employee-shareholders of New Belgium Brewing, one of the largest independent craft beer breweries in the US, are being urged to vote against a proposed takeover by Japanese beverage giant Kirin.
Activists are hoping the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government for genocide at the International Court of Justice will increase the pressure on international businesses like Kirin to sever ties with the Burmese military.
“The profits are being pumped back into the military, helping to fund their operations,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, which has published a Dirty List of about 80 companies linked to the military, including Kirin. “Kirin are literally helping to fund genocide.”
VOA News reports on Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance at the International Court of Justice to defend her government against accusations of genocide.
Though Aung San Suu Kyi is not directly responsible for the military, Mark Farmaner of Burma Campaign UK argues the civilian government is also guilty of genocide.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is pursuing policies in the country which are killing Rohingya people every day. She’s denying them humanitarian aid from the international community. She’s restricting their access to health care. Rohingya children are not allowed access to higher education,” he said.
Anna Roberts, Burma Campaign UK’s Executive Director, is at The Hague for the start of the genocide case against Burma at the International Court of Justice. She joins Karen and Kachin community activists in support of the Rohingya and Burma’s ethnic groups in their struggle for justice.
Frontier Myanmar reports on national and international reaction to Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance at the International Court of Justice.
Although the ICJ has no punitive power, if Burma is found to have committed genocide, activists may renew calls for sanctions, including targeted measures against business connected to the military.
“If your business partner is on trial for genocide at one of the highest courts in the world, you might want to reconsider whether it’s a business relationship you should be in,” Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said in a press statement today.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, is among the experts asked by Dhaka Tribune what they think about Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision to lead the Burmese government’s delegation to the International Court of Justice to answer the charge of genocide.
Mark Farmaner said: “The real problem with Aung San Suu Kyi is not just that she defends the actions of the military. As leader of the civilian government she is also pursuing racist genocidal policies against the Rohingya denying them rights, access to education, food, and healthcare. Her policies are killing people on a weekly basis.”
Eve Tahmincioglu, a business journalist writing for Directors & Boards journal, reports on the follow up to her interview with CEO Hikmet Ersek about Western Union’s first environmental, social and governance report.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told her: “I was surprised to see Hikmet Ersek describe his company as operating to the ‘highest ethical standards.’”
Tahmincioglu then asked Western Union if they are still using Myawaddy Bank, which is owned by the Burmese military. She was told “we are reviewing this matter”.
Western Union remains on Burma Campaign UK’s Dirty List while they do.
Myanmar Now reports that a popular American brewery with “ethical credentials”, the New Belgium Brewery, is voting on whether to sell up to a a subsidiary of Kirin, a company accused of funding the Burmese military’s abuses against ethnic minorities.
Kirin is on Burma Campaign UK’s Dirty List for partnering with Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, a military-owned conglomerate.
“If New Belgium employees vote to be part of Kirin, they will have as a business partner a military which rapes children and throws babies into burning homes,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK.