July 29, 2008

Read the report here: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/insurance.php

The Burma Campaign UK today publishes a groundbreaking new report exposing how foreign insurance companies have facilitated the flow of billions of dollars to the Burmese regime, money that hasn’t benefitted Burma’s people and has instead been used to finance campaigns of repression and ethnic cleansing.

The report, named Insuring Repression, highlights how foreign insurance companies from London to Singapore have been working closely with the regime’s insurance company – to ensure that foreign businesses can operate in Burma. 16 companies are highlighted as their members or subsidiaries sell insurance to companies in Burma, including Lloyd’s of London, Hannover Re, Catlin, Atrium, XL, Tokio Marine, Sompo Japan, Mitsui Sumitomo. The report launches a new campaign by The Burma Campaign UK targeting the insurance industry.

“By selling insurance to companies operating in Burma these companies are propping up a regime that rules through fear – raping, torturing and killing Burma’s civilians. These companies are putting profit before ethics, they are helping to finance a regime that less than a year ago was shooting peaceful protestors on the streets of Rangoon. They ensure that the regime can afford its guns, bullets and tanks,” said Johnny Chatterton, author of the report and Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK.

The report criticises the EU for failing to impose targeted financial sanctions that would prevent insurance companies from selling insurance to companies in Burma. The USA has had these sanctions since 2003. “The insurance industry is helping to prop up Burma’s morally repugnant regime. The EU must act. We must shut down the regime’s financial lifeline with targeted financial sanctions immediately,” said Glenys Kinnnock MEP, Patron of the Burma Campaign UK.

The report also highlights how some of the world’s insurance giants have, after pressure from Burma Campaign UK, taken the decision not to provide insurance to companies in Burma. This includes AIG, ALLIANZ, AON, AVIVA, AXA, ING, Munich Re, SCOR, Swiss Re, and Willis.

Insurance is vital for the companies that invest in Burma and give the regime millions of dollars everyday. This campaign aims to make Burma less attractive to foreign investors by making it more expensive and more difficult for them to insure their operations in Burma.  It is part of a carefully targeted policy designed by Burma’s democracy movement to cut the junta’s economic lifeline, this will decrease the amount of money the regime can spend on arms and increase pressure on the regime to negotiate with Burma’s democracy movement.

Read the report here: http://www.burmacampaign.org.uk/insurance.php

For more information and copies of the report contact Johnny Chatterton +44 (0) 207 324 4714 or email johnny.chatterton@burmacampaign.org.uk

Information For Journalists:
Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world. In May democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had her detention without trial extended. She has now been under arrest for more than 12 years. Rape is used as a weapon of war against ethnic minorities and over 1,800 political prisoners languish in jail, many subjected to horrific torture.

About the Burma Campaign UK
The Burma Campaign UK campaigns for human rights and democracy in Burma. It has a history of successful campaigns, over the last six years over 100 companies have withdrawn from Burma following pressure from the Burma Campaign UK including PwC, Rolls Royce and DHL.

 


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