Al Jazeera reports on progress following the publication of Burma Campaign UK’s “dirty list”, which named and shamed 49 companies from the US, Europe, India, China and elsewhere that do business with the military or are involved in projects that threaten human rights. Some companies named in the dirty list have responded by pulling out of new projects in Burma.
But even amid calls for Burma’s top generals to be prosecuted for genocide, military-owned businesses have escaped new sanctions by foreign governments. “You would think that imposing sanctions stopping companies doing business with the military would be a no-brainer, but not a single country has done so,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK.
Bangladesh risks creating a “new crisis” for Rohingya refugees if it goes ahead next month with plans to relocate 23,000 refugees to an uninhabited island prone to cyclones, a United Nations human rights envoy has warned.
According to Al Jazeera, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur who visited Bhasan Char recently, told the Human Rights Council that she was unsure if the Bay of Bengal island was “truly habitable”.
Bangladesh has enlisted British and Chinese engineers to help prepare the island for the planned arrivals. British firm HR Wallingford is involved in the project, and has been named on Burma Campaign UK’s “dirty list” of companies involved in projects related to human rights violations.
Mark Farmaner, Karin Valtersson, Anna Roberts and Doug Janke from Burma Campaign UK’s team with Karen grassroots delegation Wah Ku Shee and Hsa Moo.
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.