Campaigners have called on the UK-based Portia Management Services to end its relationship with KT Services and Logistics, which leases the TMT Ports shipping terminal in Yangon from a military-owned company.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, said: “As the company managing the port on behalf of KT Services, Portia Management is critical to ensuring the port makes enough money to pay for the lease from the military. This money funds the military and is helping to pay for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Portia Management is on BCUK’s Dirty List.
Today the British ambassador to Myanmar said:
“The increased violence in Rakhine State over the past few days is causing misery for many of the people living there. Today’s reported shelling of a school on Myanmar’s Children’s Day, following recent deaths of women and children, highlights the impact this is having on innocent people.
The UK Government urges all sides in the conflict to cease the fighting and do their utmost to protect civilians. It also urges the Government to lift the internet restrictions in Rakhine State which would help provide a better sense of what is happening. This would, in turn, help protect innocent people.”
Qatar’s Peninsula newspaper reports on the ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering Burma to take all possible measures to prevent genocide against the Rohingya – and the loss by Aung San Suu Kyi of “the remaining shreds of her hard-won international reputation”.
At home, by contrast, the Peninsula quotes Burma Campaign UK: “Undoubtedly, ahead of an election year, her decision to personally defend the case, making it about her, and using it as an opportunity to whip up nationalism, has boosted her public support ahead of an election year.”
The United Nations’ top court has ordered Burma to do all it can to prevent genocide against the Rohingya people, reports the New York based Associated Press.
Anna Roberts, executive director of Burma Campaign UK, called the order “a major blow to Aung San Suu Kyi and her anti-Rohingya policies.”
Anna Roberts urged the international community to press Aung San Suu Kyi to enforce the court’s order: “The chances of Aung San Suu Kyi implementing this ruling will be zero unless significant international pressure is applied. So far, the international community has not been willing to apply pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi over her own appalling record on human rights.”
The New York Times reports on the International Court of Justice at The Hague’s ruling that Burma must take action to protect Rohingya Muslims, who have been killed and driven from their homes in what the country’s accusers call a campaign of genocide.
The decision is the first international court ruling against Burma over its military’s brutal treatment of the Rohingya. While the court has no enforcement power, any member of the United Nations can request action from the Security Council based on its rulings.
“The chances of Aung San Suu Kyi implementing this ruling will be zero unless significant international pressure is applied,” said Anna Roberts, executive director of Burma Campaign UK.
Frontier Myanmar’s new daily email briefing reports on Burma Campaign UK’s new “boycott list” encouraging consumers and companies to avoid military-linked businesses.
“Buying goods and services from the military increases their revenue and this revenue is used to fund their operations, building their military capacity,” said Burma Campaign UK. The boycott list includes Red Ruby cigarettes, the Central Yangon Hotel, and more than a dozen beer brands.
MPs today debated the foreign policy priorities set out by the new British government. Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry MP called out Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “shameful inaction in holding Myanmar to account for its genocidal treatment of the Rohingya” during his time as Foreign Secretary. Bob Blackman MP raised how the UK need to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh with aid, and support their repatriation to Burma under safe and secure conditions.
The Irrawaddy Business Roundup reports that Western Union, a US-based global financial transfer service, has cut ties with the military–owned Myawaddy Bank in light of accusations that the military is responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In December 2018, Burma Campaign UK named and shamed a total of 49 companies worldwide that do business with the military in its “Dirty List” of firms. Western Union has now been removed from that list.
Western Union announced this week that the company decided to stop using Myawaddy Bank, owned by the military, as one of its agents. The bank has come under fire for the relationship given that the Myanmar military has been accused by the United Nations of genocide.
The decision comes nearly three months after Western Union’s CEO Hikmet Ersek was featured in Directors & Boards about the release of the company’s first environmental, social and governance report.
After the story ran, Directors & Boards was contacted by Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, and a follow-up story about Western Union’s apparent ESG disconnect ran in Directors & Boards’ next issue.
Mark Farmaner credited Directors & Boards’ story for increasing the pressure on the company.
After U.S.-based Western Union terminated its agent contract with Myawaddy Bank, a Burmese military spokesman played down the effect that the decision would have, according to a report by Radio Free Asia.
Western Union was one of about 80 companies worldwide on Burma Campaign UK’s “Dirty List” of firms doing business with Myanmar’s military. BCUK and 32 other organisations issued a joint statement in October 2018 calling on Western Union to stop doing business with Myawaddy Bank.