149 products and brands are listed, covering a wide range of sectors from construction, media, entertainment, agricultural products and trade.
The purpose of the briefing paper is to provide information for individuals, embassies, donors, aid agencies, and companies to help them avoid purchasing goods and services from the military.
Military-owned and controlled companies are an important source of revenue for the Burmese military. Buying goods and services from the military increases their revenue and this revenue is used to fund their operations, building their military capacity. The Burmese military are being investigated for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, and have been accused of genocide at an ongoing case at the International Court of Justice.
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. It mainly detailed alleged subsidiaries or affiliates of the Myanmar Economic Corporation and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd, two conglomerates owned and controlled by the Burmese military. The report called for sanctions on these companies.
There is a lack of transparency over military-owned companies and their products, making documenting their businesses and products challenging. Product and company names are also translated into English by their companies in different ways at different times. The Briefing will be updated as new information or errors or omissions become available.
“Governments, companies and activists in Burma have told us that they don’t have enough information on all the products military companies produce”, said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Our new briefing paper will make it easier to avoid putting money in the pockets of the generals and helping to pay for the human rights violations they commit.”
Note to editors: Burma Campaign UK also produces a ‘Dirty List’ of international companies doing business with the Burmese military, or linked to human rights and environmental violations in Burma. The ‘Dirty List’ is available here.