The Burma Campaign UK has been informed by DHL’s parent company, Deutsche Post, that DHL will end its joint venture with Burma’s military dictatorship. DHL’s current contract with the regime expires at the end of 2006, and the Burma Campaign UK had called on the company to use this opportunity to cut its ties with the regime.
Deutsche Post told the Burma Campaign UK: “DHL Express Asia Pacific has decided not to renew its joint-venture agreement with Myanma Posts and Telecommunications in Myanmar which expires in December 2006. The decision was taken following a regular operational review of DHL’s business in Myanmar.”
“This is a welcome but long overdue move by DHL”, said Yvette Mahon, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “DHL have finally realised that it is not acceptable to have a military dictatorship as your business partner, especially one that is currently slaughtering its own population in a new military offensive against civilians.”
DHL’s partner in Burma is the regime-owned enterprise, Myanma Post and Telecomms. The joint venture began on 1st January 1997. It was a five-year contract. In early 2002 DHL signed a new five-year contract with the regime. In 1998 the regime expelled Fed Ex, UPS, TNT and other parcel carriers. Only DHL was spared. Rivals and observers speculated that the reason was to increase revenue for the regime, as none of the other operators were in joint ventures.
The move by DHL will increase pressure on French oil giant TOTAL Oil to pull out of Burma. TOTAL Oil is the target of an international campaign to persuade it to pull out of Burma. On Friday 12th May TOTAL Oil faces an international day of action, with protests taking place across Europe and Asia.
The Burma Campaign UK has a successful track record of forcing companies out of Burma through high profile public campaigns. It has persuaded more than 100 companies to end their involvement in Burma, including British American Tobacco, Premier Oil, WPP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Kuoni, and Carnival Cruises.
Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. Democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest following an attack by a pro-government militia on her and her supporters in May 2003. Up to 100 of her supporters were beaten to death. Around 1,300 political prisoners languish in jail where torture is commonplace.
The regime is currently engaged in a new military offensive against the Karen ethnic minority. More than 11,000 people have been forced from their homes and villages. Most are now hiding in the jungle with no food or medical supplies.
DHL will now be removed from the ‘Dirty List’ of companies directly or indirectly providing financial support to the regime in Burma. The full list can be viewed at: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/index.php/burma/dirty-and-clean-list/dirty-list/contact-details
For more information, contact Mark Farmaner, Media and Campaigns Manager, on 020 7324 4713