Burma Campaign UK today welcomed moves by Britain’s aid ministry, the Department for International Development (DFID), to prevent British aid reaching Burmese military companies.
Burma Campaign UK has been lobbying DFID for more than a year to introduce a policy to stop recipients of British aid being able to spend UK aid money on goods and services from military owned and controlled companies.
In an answer to a Parliamentary Question by Lyn Brown MP, DFID Minister Zac Goldsmith MP stated:
“In order to prevent DFID Myanmar funds going to military owned companies we already have enhanced private sector due diligence in place. We are constantly working to strengthen this process. DFID Myanmar has recently written to its partners asking them to review their supply chains to check UK money is not being used to purchase goods and services from companies identified as military owned by the recent UN Fact Finding Mission report on Myanmar.”
“This is a welcome step by DFID, which other donors in Burma should replicate,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “We would now like to see DFID go one step further and ensure that a condition of not sourcing from military companies is written into all future grants and loans provided by DFID.”
In September 2019 the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar published the final update of its report on the economic interests of the military. The report called for sanctions on military companies stating that they would “erode the economic base of the military, undercut its obstruction of the reform process, impair its ability to carry out military operations without oversight and thus reduce violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and serve as a form of accountability in the short-term.”